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US aid bolsters fight against COVID-19 in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan

By Caravanserai

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USAID has allocated an additional $2.5 million to Uzbekistan to aid in the fight against COVID-19, the US Embassy in Tashkent said November 12. Worldwide, the United States has already delivered more than 200 million COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX facility, with more on the way. [US Embassy in Uzbekistan]

DUSHANBE/TASHKENT -- The United States is continuing to help Central Asian states fight the COVID-19 pandemic with aid and vaccine donations.

Washington on Monday (November 15) delivered 117,000 out of 198,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to Tajikistan via the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the COVAX facility, the US Embassy in Dushanbe said in a statement.

The remaining 81,900 doses are set to arrive this week.

This latest donation adds to the 325,260 Pfizer doses delivered in September, and 1.5 million Moderna doses delivered in July 2021. In total, the US government has donated more than two million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Tajikistan.

The aid is part of the US government's commitment to donate 1.1 billion COVID-19 vaccines to the countries most in need, safely, equitably, and with no strings attached.

"No one is safe from COVID-19 until everyone is. And vaccines are an essential and vital component to get there," said USAID Mission Director to Tajikistan Peter Riley.

The vaccine doses are part of a co-ordinated effort to strengthen Tajikistan's health care system, including the procurement of urgent supplies to support infection-prevention and control and the improvement of COVID-19 surveillance, response and case management, according to the statement.

The effort is also aimed at bolstering the development and enhancement of public health outreach, risk communication and community engagement and support for the deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Aid to Uzbekistan

The vaccine donation to Tajikistan came after USAID allocated an additional $2.5 million to Uzbekistan, the US Embassy in Tashkent said in a statement November 12.

The additional funds bring the total direct US government contribution to support Uzbekistan's efforts to combat COVID-19 to more than $16 million.

USAID will use these additional funds to provide senior-level technical assistance on ensuring the quality of medicine, and to address vaccine hesitancy in the country.

"More and more people are getting fully vaccinated in Uzbekistan. But the fight is far from over -- the virus continues to rage in this country and new variants pose a constant global threat," said Mikaela Meredith, USAID Mission Director to Uzbekistan.

"Ending the pandemic is vital to keeping everyone safe, saving lives, and rebuilding global economies," said Meredith.

"Vaccines are a key tool in that effort, and the Biden administration is committed to that effort, recently announcing that the United States has donated and shipped more than 200 million US COVID-⁠19 vaccine doses worldwide," she added.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, USAID has worked closely with the government of Uzbekistan to strengthen the national laboratory systems for large-scale testing and prevent and control infections in labs and healthcare facilities, the statement said.

It has also helped to improve diagnostic capacity, COVID-19 surveillance and rapid response; enhance the treatment of infected people; and improve public awareness of COVID-19, community engagement and volunteer mobilisation.

In addition to supporting measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, USAID partners with the government of Uzbekistan to diversify the country's economy and increase regional trade, address tuberculosis and other health threats, support early education efforts and build the government's capacity to respond to the population's needs, the statement added.

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