U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday announced a major new COVID-19 vaccine donation for Africa and promised greater commitment to the continent as he welcomed his first African leader, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta.
Biden announced that the United States would immediately donate another 17 million doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine to the African Union, on top of 50 million doses already sent.
“As a continent we are lagging well behind the rest of the world in terms of being able to vaccinate our people,” Kenyatta told Biden in the Oval Office.
“So any additional support like the president just mentioned is greatly welcomed and we look forward to that continued partnership,” he said.
Most of sub-Saharan Africa has vaccination rates in the single digits, at the mercy of foreign donations due to the lack of indigenous production and prohibitive costs of mass purchases.
Kenyatta is the first African leader to visit Biden’s White House amid a slowdown of travel and summits as a Covid-19 precaution.