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Those donations include more than 120 million surplus doses from the U.S. stockpile, along with initial deliveries of 1 billion doses the federal government has bought from Pfizer for donation to other countries by September 2022, the Associated Press reported.
"These 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have helped bring health and hope to millions of people, but our work is far from over," U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power said in a statement. "To end the pandemic, and prevent the emergence of new variants, as well as future outbreaks within our nation's borders, we must continue to do our part to help vaccinate the world."
While the U.S. vaccine donations have been welcomed by aid groups, those groups have also criticized the approval of booster doses in this country while many people in lower-income nations have yet to receive a first shot.
"The reality is, the more wealthy countries use booster shots, the further we will be from ending the pandemic," Tom Hart, acting CEO of the One Campaign, told the AP. "While some argue that we can both administer boosters and vaccinate the world, the simple fact is that boosters divert supply from an urgent area of need — administering first shots around the world."
On Wednesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved booster shots of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, following last month's authorization of a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
Robert Preidt and Robin Foster
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