Biden administration will send 3 million vaccines to Indonesia amid Covid-19 surge
By Kaitlan Collins and Kate Sullivan, CNN
(CNN) -- The US is sending 3 million Moderna Covid-19 vaccines to Indonesia on Friday in what will amount to one of the Biden administration's largest single shipments yet, according to the White House.
The Biden administration is also sending 1.5 million Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines to Nepal, 500,000 Johnson & Johnson doses to Moldova and 500,000 Moderna doses to Bhutan, the White House says. The doses to Moldova will be the first sent from the US to Europe.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Friday that, in addition to the vaccines, the US was also working to increase assistance for Indonesia's broader Covid-19 response efforts.
"We recognize the difficult situation Indonesia currently finds itself in with a surge of Covid cases and our thoughts are with those in Indonesia who are affected family," Psaki said.
Indonesia recently extended its Covid-19 restrictions as the country reported a record number of daily deaths from coronavirus. On Wednesday, Indonesia saw 1,040 coronavirus deaths and reported nearly 35,000 new cases, according to the country's Covid-19 task force, as the highly contagious Delta variant circulates throughout the country.
The Biden administration has set aside four million doses of vaccines for Indonesia and expects to send the additional one million "soon," though an official did not specify when. Moderna is a two-dose vaccine and this is the largest quantity of vaccines delivered in a single flight from the US so far.
Distributing vaccines globally has been a complex undertaking for the Biden administration. White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients and national security adviser Jake Sullivan have worked with multiple federal agencies, including the Defense Department and State Department, to coordinate the process and maintain that the doses are delivered without strings attached.
Earlier this week, the Biden administration said it was sending millions of Covid-19 vaccines to countries in Latin America as part of President Joe Biden's commitment to play a leading role in ending the pandemic across the globe. The President has allocated 80 million vaccines to countries across the globe and has also pledged to donate an additional 500 million Pfizer doses.
One million doses of Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine shipped to Bolivia on Thursday, 1 million doses of Pfizer will head to Paraguay on Friday and 1.5 million doses of Moderna shipped to Guatemala on Wednesday, according to the White House.
The White House has said that at least 75% of the 80 million vaccines would be shared with the global vaccination program called Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access, or COVAX, and 25% would be shared directly with countries in need.
The move is part of the President's effort to reassert US leadership on the world stage and have America be an "arsenal of vaccines" in the fight against Covid-19. It will also serve to counter efforts by Russia and China to use their own state-funded vaccines to expand their influence across the globe.
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