BUCHAREST (AP), – Half a million Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be delivered to Moldova by the United States in order to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials from the U.S Embassy in Moldova announced that the first 150,000 J& J doses will arrive in Moldova, a country of 3.5million and Europe’s poorest between Romanian and Ukraine on July 12.

Maia Sandu, the President of Moldova, thanked the U.S. and stated that the vaccines will “help save lives and preserve the health and well-being of our citizens as well as reduce the threat of a pandemic.”

Sandu, an ex-World Bank official, posted online, “Now, it is time to mobilize ourselves and, as a solidarity, get vaccinated.”

This announcement was made days before an early) election in Moldova. It pits pro-Western reformists with a Russia-friendly bloc Socialists/Communists. Recent polls have given a lead to both.

The U.S. Embassy in Moldova released a statement saying that “this donation could not have come at a better time.” “The U.S. is still Moldova’s staunch partner in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, and saving lives in Moldova.”

Around 11% of the population in Moldova has been inoculated against COVID-19. Only 305,000 people have been inoculated.

According to the embassy, more than $4 million (EUR3.3million) in COVID-19-related assistance has been donated by the U.S. to Moldova. This includes equipment and staff training. More than 400,000 AstraZeneca vaccinations have been donated by Romania, a neighbor.

More than 257,000 coronavirus cases have been reported in Moldova, with 6,207 deaths.

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