The US is set to ship 3 million doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine to Brazil, where more than 500,000 people have died from the coronavirus.
The shipment to the country with the second highest COVID-19 death toll, behind the US, is part of the White House’s pledge to donate 80 million vaccines, an official said Wednesday.
Scientific teams and regulators from both nations organized the delivery of the FDA approved doses, which will depart Fort Lauderdale on a Thursday evening Azul Airlines flight, bound for Campinas, according to the White House.
The one-shot J&J vaccine is viewed as a key tool to drive up vaccination rates in remote areas. Only 10 percent of Brazil’s 210 million people have been inoculated against the deadly virus, statistics from Our World In Data show.
The donation comes after the government halted manufacturing of the J&J vaccines at Emergent BioSolutions Inc’s Baltimore plant after production errors ruined 15 million doses in the spring.
Another 60 million doses were spoiled over contamination issues at the plant earlier this month.
Government officials stressed the doses being sent to South America are safe, and they are a no-strings-attached gift to the government of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.
“We are sharing these doses not to secure favors or extract concessions. Our vaccines do not come with strings attached. We are doing this with the singular objective of saving lives,” said the official.
With Post wires