Health and customs workers receive the first batch of vaccines against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Kigali international airport in Kigali, Rwanda March 3, 2021. REUTERS/Jean Bizimana/File Photo
The United States is sending nearly half a million doses of Pfizer Inc's (PFE.N) COVID-19 vaccine to Rwanda, including the first doses from the Biden administration's 500 million global pledge earlier this summer, the White House said on Tuesday.
"Today, we are shipping over 488,000 doses of Pfizer to Rwanda, including the first 100,000 doses from ?@POTUS?’ 500 million shots pledged and purchased this summer. This is just the beginning," White House spokesman Kevin Munoz said in a post on Twitter.
The move is part of the Biden administration's support for COVAX, the global vaccine sharing program with the World Health Organization to help distribute vaccines to poorer countries.
U.S. President Joe Biden in June said the United States would donate 500 million doses of Pfizer's shot, made with partner BioNTech SE (22UAy.DE), and officials have said they would start shipping out in late August.
In Rwanda, COVID-19 infections are decreasing with 584 average daily reported cases, 42% of its peak caseload reported on July 22.
Biden administration health officials have said efforts to quell the novel coronavirus outbreak worldwide is key to ending the pandemic and preventing future problematic COVID strains, in addition to ongoing efforts to vaccinate people in the United States.
Reporting by Susan Heavey Editing by David Holmes