U.S. will donate substantial portion of vaccines through COVAX -U.S. official

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FILE PHOTO: Nurse prepares to administer the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine against the COVID-19 at the Eka Kotebe General Hospital in Addis Ababa

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -The United States will donate a significant number of COVID-19 vaccines through the World Health Organization's COVAX scheme for distributing doses to poorer countries, the U.S. global coordinator on COVID Gayle Smith told a news conference.

U.S. President Joe Biden announced on Monday that his administration will send by the end of June a total of 20 million doses of the Pfizer Inc/BioNTech SE, Moderna Inc and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, on top of 60 million AstraZeneca Plc doses he had already planned to give to other countries.

"The allocation of the vaccines will include obviously a substantial portion through COVAX, but we have not made final decisions," Smith said on Wednesday, adding that no decision was made either on where doses could be sent.

Smith said that the United States was also planning to increase its funding for COVAX, in addition to $2 billion which she said it had already donated to the facility in past months.

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Catherine Evans)

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