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COVID vaccines

From Australia to Thailand, vaccine swap deals help ease shortages

Nearly expired doses shipped to nations with slow rollouts

People wait in line outside a COVID-19 vaccination center at Sydney Olympic Park. Vaccines from the U.K. that had been at risk of expiring have been put to use in Australia.   © Reuters

SINGAPORE/SYDNEY/TOKYO -- As global distribution of coronavirus vaccines remains heavily tilted toward certain wealthy nations, countries are striking bilateral deals to temporarily "swap" extra doses that are close to expiring.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a sharing deal with the U.K. in early September for 4 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, enough to fully vaccinate about 8% of the population Down Under. Australia will send the same amount back later this year. It reached a similar agreement with Singapore for 500,000 doses in late August.

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