US sending 1.5 million Moderna Covid-19 vaccine doses to Sri Lanka

COLOMBO (BLOOMBERG) – The United States is sending more than 1.5 million doses of Moderna Inc’s coronavirus vaccine to Sri Lanka on Wednesday (July 14), the latest shipment as President Joe Biden begins sharing the American stockpile of shots. The doses will arrive in Sri Lanka on Friday and are being sent through Covax, the global vaccine procurement initiative intended to secure inoculations for low- and middle-income nations, according to a White House statement. Mr Biden’s administration has pledged to ship at least 80 million doses – a mix of Moderna, Pfizer Inc and Johnson & Johnson vaccines – out of the country this summer.

The US has sent them bit by bit as arrangements and transportation logistics fall into place. It had planned to send 80 million by the end of June, but missed that target. The administration has separately ordered 500 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine to donate abroad, beginning next month.

The president has escalated international assistance on vaccinations as demand within the US fades. The US has also shipped doses to Laos, Costa Rica and Fiji this week. Last week, the administration announced shipments to Indonesia, Nepal, Bhutan, Moldova, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Guatemala, Vietnam and Malaysia.

Mr Biden began sharing doses abroad after the US took the first hundreds of millions of doses made on its soil. The early domestic focus allowed the US vaccination campaign to surge ahead of peer countries early on, though it has slowed, as uptake has waned. With supply now well exceeding demand, Mr Biden has begun donating doses, some of them directly and some through Covax.

The total donation pledge, of 580 million doses, is on top of doses that are being manufactured in the US and shipped directly to other nations.

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