TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s prime minister has announced an additional $800 million contribution to the U.N.-backed initiative to provide COVID-19 vaccines to poor countries, a four-fold increase of Japanese funding for the COVAX program. The pledge by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga comes as his government attempts to accelerate vaccinations in Japan, one of the world’s least inoculated countries, only about 50 days before it hosts the Olympics amid a continuing surge in infections. He spoke as Japan co-sponsored a fundraising event for COVAX with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which helps run the program. The program managers are seeking about $2 billion more to reach a target of $8.3 billion for its effort to fund free vaccines for low- and middle-income countries around the world.
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