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COVAX chief 'disappointed' with slow vaccine exports to world's poorest

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By AP
A shipment of COVID-19 vaccines distributed by the COVAX Facility arrives in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Friday Feb. 25, 2021.
A shipment of COVID-19 vaccines distributed by the COVAX Facility arrives in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Friday Feb. 25, 2021.   -   Copyright  Diomande Ble Blonde/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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A leader of the U.N.-backed program to ship COVID-19 vaccines to needy people in low- and middle-income countries has expressed disappointment about supply delays from a key Indian manufacturer but says he hopes the United States can begin sharing shots soon.

Seth Berkley, the CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, said doses for health care workers and other high-risk groups in such countries to be delivered through the COVAX program will be set back weeks.

He was elaborating on an announcement a day earlier from Gavi and partners that as many as 90 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India will be delayed through the end of April as India’s government grapples with a spike in cases.

“We are disappointed,” Berkley told The Associated Press. He said talks continued with India’s government and SII “with the hope that we can get some of those doses freed up and be able to then move back into full swing scale-up later, in perhaps May.”

He added: “We had hoped to reach all health care workers and high-risk groups by the end of March.”