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Italy triples pledge to provide other nations with COVID-19 vaccines

·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi arrives for a NATO summit in Brussels,

ROME (Reuters) - Italy plans to give other countries 45 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines before the end of the year, three times its original pledge, Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Thursday.

In a video message to a U.S.-hosted global COVID-19 Summit, Draghi said his government had previously promised to donate 15 million doses of vaccine by the end of the year.

"Nearly half of these have already been delivered and today I am glad to announce that we will triple our efforts. We will donate another 30 million additional doses by the end of the year to reach 45 million," he said.

Leaders from developing nations warned the U.N. General Assembly this week that COVID-19 vaccine hoarding by wealthy countries meant new coronavirus variants might emerge as infections increase in many places.

Looking to help address the issue, U.S. President Joe Biden pledged on Wednesday to buy 500 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses to donate to other countries, which will put total U.S. donations at more than 1.1 billion doses.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping, in a speech to the U.N. on Tuesday, repeated China's aim to provide 2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to the world by the end of the year.

(Reporting by Crispian Balmer, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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