South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday, that the African Union has secured a provisional 270 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for its member countries.
Ramaphosa, who chairs the African Union, said the vaccines will be supplied by Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
He said the doses would be made available in the coming months, adding that at least 50 million doses will be available for the crucial period between April and June 2021.
According to him, the African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank) will be in charge of financing the project, urging member states who want access to the vaccines to liaise with the bank.
He further noted that the initiative, which is part of the COVAX programme, aims to make available two billion doses of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021.
COVAX is one of three pillars of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, which was launched in April by the World Health Organization, the European Commission and France in response to this pandemic.
It brings together governments, global health organisations, scientists and the private sector, with the aim of providing innovative and equitable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments and vaccines.
Ramaphosa said, “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.
“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.”
Although the number of infections in Africa have receded in comparison to other regions, the block is grappling with a second wave of the novel coronavirus.
The virus has infected more than 100,000 people and killed 1,300 in Nigeria, since the onset of the pandemic, according to Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control.
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