KABUL, Afghanistan — U.N. children’s agency UNICEF says more than 1.4 million Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses will be delivered to Afghanistan on Friday as the country battles a third wave of infections.
The COVID-19 vaccines are being donated by the United States and delivered through the U.N.-backed COVAX program. Another shipment is expected to arrive later this month, bringing the total donations to around 3.3 million doses.
“These vaccines arrive at a critical time for Afghanistan as the country faces a difficult surge in COVID-19 infections,” Hervé Ludovic De Lys, UNICEF’s representative in Afghanistan, said in a statement.
He added that while the the donated vaccines are appreciated, “much more needs to be done. I hope that other governments will step up and share their doses, supplies and therapeutics to protect those most in need.”
As of July 8, Afghanistan had reported a total a total of 131,586 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 5,561 deaths. Since the third wave started last month, the country has averaged more than 2,000 new confirmed cases a day.
The Afghan government has closed universities and schools.