African Union (AU) Member States through the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) have acquired 220 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-shot COVID-19 vaccine with the potential to order an additional 180 million doses.
The direct acquisition of vaccines by African countries through the AVATT initiative is part of the continental objective to achieve a minimum of 60% immunization of the African population, in order to eliminate COVID-19.
Bulk of the supplies will be produced at the giant South African pharmaceutical manufacturing plant, Aspen Pharma and the vaccine will be made available to African countries through the African Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP) over a period of 18 months.
The transaction was made possible through the US$2 billion facility approved by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).
In a statement, Afreximbank stated that prior to the conclusion of the agreement with Johnson & Johnson, African Member States were asked to make pre-orders for the vaccines and many countries showed strong preference for this particular vaccine.
The countries will be able to purchase the vaccines either using cash or a facility from Afreximbank, most countries have completed their pre-orders.
President of Afreximbank Professor Benedict Oramah said the bank is proud to be part of the collective and historic effort.
“In the midst of a very tight COVID-19 vaccine market, we are highly honoured to have been given the opportunity by the African Union to facilitate this impactful transaction under the auspices of the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT).
“This financing will support Intra-African Trade and we have already commenced engagement with our financial partners to secure the additional funding that would support procurement if Africa decides to procure the additional 180 million doses,” Oramah said.
Strive Masiyiwa, African Union Special Envoy signed for AVAT, while Jaak Peeters, Johnson & Johnson Special Envoy for COVID-19 vaccine, signed on behalf of Johnson & Johnson
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