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BBC

The US has pledged an additional 17 million Covid-19 vaccines to the African continent, which is lagging way behind the world in vaccinations.

The vaccines will be distributed through the African Union.

The announcement was made during a meeting between President Joe Biden and Kenya’s leader Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday.

The meeting at the White House was President Biden’s first with an African leader.

Less than 4% of Africans have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 as the continent struggles with a shortage of doses, vaccine hesitancy and logistical problems in delivering jabs particularly in conflict-torn countries.

President Biden said the one-time donation of Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be distributed immediately mainly in African countries facing shortages.

He also pledged to push for vaccine manufacturing and production on the continent.

The US has so far promised 500 million doses globally.

Presidents Biden and Kenyatta said they would cooperate to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Ethiopia where thousands are living in famine-like conditions and millions face a humanitarian crisis.

Kenya is the current president of the UN Security Council.

The Biden administration has threatened punitive action, even as Ethiopian troops launched a new offensive against rebel forces in the northern Tigray region.

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