In a recent move to accelerate the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, all the African Union member states are slated to gain access to nearly 220 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) single-dose coronavirus vaccine, with the ability to order an extra 180 million doses.
Reportedly, the vaccines are expected to be produced at J&J’s manufacturing facility in South Africa which is operated by Aspen Pharma. The doses will be made available to the African nations via the African Medical Supplies Platform, over a span of 1.5 years.
Sources close to the news claim that the agreement was made through a USD 2 billion worth unit approved by the African Export-Import Bank, which acts as the Financial and Transaction Adviser, Installment Payment Advisers, Guarantors as well as Payment Agent.
Notably, the agreement was facilitated through the support of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, which have carried out the negotiation process with the American pharmaceutical giant.
In addition to the above, UNICEF is acting as the logistics and procurement agent. The African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team received the support of the World Health Organization.
Before signing the agreement with J&J, the African Member States were told to make pre-orders for the vaccine doses and several nations showcased preference for this specific vaccine. The countries will also be able to buy the vaccines either through cash transactions or from Afreximbank. Many nations have announced the completion of their pre-orders.
Seemingly, the procurement of vaccines by the African nations forms a part of the continental objective to gain nearly 60% immunization of the total African population, gradually eliminating the virus.
The Africa CDC has recommended the African Union that at least 750 million citizens must be immunized in order to control the spread of the lethal coronavirus infection. The latest transaction will allow Africa to meet at least 50% of its target.