As part of Africa’s strategic efforts in curtailing the rising cases of COVID-19 infection in the continent, the African Union (AU) disclosed that it has secured a provisional 270 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from manufacturers for member states to supplement the COVAX programme.
The COVAX programme is a global collaboration, co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI) and WHO; which aims to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccine for every country of the world.
Drugmakers Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson will provide the vaccines to Africa, of which 50 million doses will be made available for the crucial period, between April and June 2021.
This disclosure was made through a statement by the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also the Chairman of the African Union, on Wednesday.
On financing, Ramaphosa noted arrangements had been made with the African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank) 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 $2 billion to the manufacturers.
According to the South African President: “There is also close collaboration between the AU team and the World Bank to ensure that member states are able to access about $5 billion either to buy more vaccines or pay for delivery of vaccines committed on their behalf by Afreximbank”.
He further added that “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.” African nations are currently grappling with a second wave of the novel coronavirus, with latest confirmed cases rising to over 3.1 million and 76,700 deaths over the course of the pandemic, according to Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention tall