July 24 (UPI) -- Over one million doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine donated from the United States arrived Saturday in Tanzania.
"We are sharing these vaccines to save lives and to lead the world in bringing an end to the pandemic," U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania Dr. Donald Wright said.
Tanzania's late president John Magufuli, who died at age 61, in March, of heart failure, according to state officials, had downplayed COVID-19's threat, said that "vaccines don't work," and resisted accepting vaccine doses.
Samia Suluhu Hassan, 61, the country's first female president, sworn in a couple days after the death of Magufuli, has accepted the country receiving the vaccine doses.
As of Friday, Tanzania had reported 609 COVID-19 cases and 21 deaths since the pandemic began, according to the World Health Organization.
The donations to Tanzania are part of President Joe Biden's administration's pledge early last month to donate approximately five million doses of COVID-19 vaccine across Africa through COVAX, working in coordination with the Africa Union and the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The five million doses to Africa are among the first 25 million doses outlined in the administration's plan for global vaccine distribution.
"From the beginning of my presidency, we have been clear-eyed that we need to attack this virus globally as well," Biden said in a statement. "This is about our responsibility -- our humanitarian obligation to save as many lives as we can -- and our responsibility to our values. We're going to help lead the world out of this pandemic, working alongside our global partners."
Other COVID-19 vaccine doses out of the first 25 million that will be shared through COVAX, according to the pledge, include approximately six million doses for Latin America and the Caribbean, and seven million for South and Southeast Asia.
The remaining doses of the first 25 million will be shared directly with countries experiencing COVID-19 surges, and other partners and neighbors, including Canada, Mexico, India, and the Republic of Korea.
The Biden administration listed later last month allocations for another 55 million doses, including 41 million to be distributed though COVAX, and another 14 million to be shared with regional priorities and other recipients.
Among the countries announced in the latest round of allocations was Haiti. The Caribbean country received its first batch of U.S. government donated COVID-19 vaccines - 500,000 doses through COVAX last week, amid turmoil since the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise on July 7.
The United States has committed $4 billion to support COVAX, a White House statement said.