In an announcement on Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a plan to distribute COVID-19 vaccines from Johnson & Johnson to populations in conflict zones, according to The Hill.
To Distribute Vaccine
According to Blinken, the U.S. has worked with COVAX, an international vaccine alliance, to distribute the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shots in areas of conflict and other humanitarian distress, as part of a virtual ministerial meeting on Wednesday, as per Reuters.
Vaccine distribution in Western and high-income countries has increased scrutiny for failing to address equitable vaccine distribution. According to Blinken, there is currently an emergency in distributing the vaccine globally, as only 10 percent of the population in Africa has received the vaccine, compared to over 50 percent in North America and Europe.
According to New York Times, Blinken emphasized the importance of extending vaccine access to those who live in areas currently out of the reach of government-run programs. He did not specify the number of doses involved in the most recent effort, which is being carried out through COVAX, the global vaccine-sharing program.
World Health Organization Target Goal
According to a senior administration official, the agreement opens the door for non-governmental organizations to distribute J&J’s vaccine in conflict zones and other humanitarian settings, which had previously been restricted due to liability concerns, as per The Hill. UN humanitarian workers and UN peacekeepers will have access to 300,000 doses of J&J’s single-shot vaccine, an official said.
On September 22, U.S. President Joe Biden held a virtual summit of world leaders in which he promised to buy 500 million additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine for other countries. Later on Wednesday this month, at the DealBook Online Summit, that was arranged by President Biden– “When it comes to distribution, with all the different actors involved—governments, companies, international organizations—we have fallen short of the mark.” Blinken stated.
On the World Health Organization’s target of achieving 70 percent vaccination rates by September 2022, Blinken said the United States agreed. Only 4.2 percent of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose, according to a statement from the ONE campaign.
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