The United States on Wednesday announced it was starting to donate vaccines for children abroad with initial shipments to Nepal and Mongolia.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that 2.2 million doses for children aged five to 12 would head to Nepal and another 300,000 to Mongolia in a partnership with the UN-backed Covax program.
“We’ve got many more ready to go for countries that want them,” Blinken told a meeting on the pandemic response.
The United States, after initially prioritizing Covid vaccines at home, has been the leader in donations overseas, with Blinken saying this week that 550 million doses have been shipped, about half of what it has promised to give by the end of the year.
Despite vaccine hesitancy in sections of the public, the United States has also been ahead in efforts to immunize children.
President Joe Biden’s administration has sought to contrast its donations with efforts by China and Russia, arguing that the US adversaries, while moving quickly, had commercial or political motives.
The United States has put a key focus on donating vaccines to densely populated developing nations, led by Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Blinken warned the meeting against “pandemic fatigue” and a loss of political will.
“The United States continues to be intently focused on fighting the pandemic and leaving the world better prepared and better defended for whatever comes next,” he said.