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AU Secures 270 Million Vaccines For African Countries

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AU Secures 270 Million Vaccines For African Countries

Gbolabo Fagbenle

 

The African Union (AU) says it has secured a provisional 270-million Covid-19 vaccines from manufacturers for Nigeria and 54 other member states to supplement the Covax programme.

 

The vaccines will be supplied by Pfizer, AstraZeneca, through the Serum Institute of India, and Johnson & Johnson, the Chairperson, AU and President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, told a press conference on Wednesday.

The continent as of Thursday had 3.15 million confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic, 75,750 deaths and more than 105,478 confirmed cases in Nigeria, according to Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention data.

Ramphosa added that all 270-million doses would be made available in 2021 and about 50-million would be delivered between April and 2021.

Speaking on financing, Ramaphosa said arrangements had been made with the African Export Import Bank to support member states who want access to the vaccines.

Afreximbank would, upon receipt of firm orders from member states, provide advance procurement commitment guarantees of up to $2bn to the manufacturers.

“There is also close collaboration between the AU team and the World Bank to ensure that member states are able to access about $5bn either to buy more vaccines or pay for delivery of vaccines committed on their behalf by Afreximbank,” Ramaphosa said.

He added, “These endeavours aim to supplement the Covax efforts, and to ensure that as many dosages of vaccine as possible become available throughout Africa as soon as possible.”

Ramaphosa said while the Covax initiative, co-led by the World Health Organisation, was vital to Africa’s response,

H said the AU was concerned that Covax volumes to be released between February and June may not be sufficient for the rest of the African population apart from the front-line health-care workers.

The Covax facility driven by the World Health Organisation (WHO)  aims to make available two billion doses of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021.

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