The African Union said, on Wednesday, that it had obtained 270 million doses of an anti-virus vaccine for the continent, in a deal that will benefit countries unable to finance their immunization campaigns.
Under the agreement, the vaccines will be provided by Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
Doses Vaccines secured via Covax will complement the effort to procure and distribute the globally pooled vaccine that has concluded agreements to secure two billion doses.
“Since the beginning of this epidemic, our focus as a continent has been on cooperation and collective efforts.” We have firmly adhered to the principle of not leaving any country behind, “said South African President and Chairperson of the African Union Cyril Ramaphosa at a special meeting of the AU on Wednesday.
Ramaphosa, who founded the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Force (AVATT), provided details of the doses he received to the special meeting.
A task force was formed in August to ensure that the African continent is able to secure adequate doses to achieve community immunity.
“As a result of our own efforts, we have so far secured a temporary commitment of 270 million vaccines from three major suppliers: Pfizer, AstraZeneca (through the Serum Institute of India) and Johnson & Johnson,” he said.
A statement said that all 270 million doses of the vaccine would be available this year, with 50 million doses available between April and June, without giving further details of the schedule.
Despite Kovacs’s efforts, the African Union added in a statement that it remains concerned that “the volumes that will be released between February and June may not exceed the needs of frontline healthcare workers and thus may not be sufficient to contain – the rise in the toll of the epidemic in Africa.
“Another challenge is that the target of 600 million doses of Covacs will only cover about 300 million people across the African continent, that is, only about 20% of the population,” she added.