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EU pledges 200 million COVID vaccine doses to poor countries

FILE - In this April 26, 2021, file photo, a nursing student administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center at UNLV, in Las Vegas. Data from the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System is being misrepresented to raise doubts about the shots. Over the years, anti-vaccine proponents have seized on the publicly available data to sow doubt about vaccines from falsehoods that they cause autism to even death. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union said Thursday it will donate more than 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to middle and low-income countries before the end of the year.

That’s double the initial amount that the 27-nation bloc had planned to deliver, mainly through COVAX, the U.N.-backed program to provide shots to poorer parts of the world.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the EU “takes its responsibility in helping the world fight the virus, everywhere. Vaccination is key – that’s why it is essential to ensure access to COVID-19 vaccines to countries worldwide.”

According to the EU, COVAX has so far delivered 122 million doses to 136 countries.

The EU said it is also providing assistance to African countries to help them manufacture vaccines and medicines in order to reduce the continent’s dependence on imports.

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The Associated Press