African Union secures 270 million Covid-19 vaccine doses for Africa - Ramaphosa

Remigio Civitarese
Gennaio 14, 2021

Nicaise Ndembi, senior science adviser for the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told The Associated Press in an interview that the current AU chair, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, is expected to announce the news on Wednesday.

Many African nations are relying on Covax, a global initiative to ensure equitable access to vaccines.

"... We have not only campaigned vigorously for changes through all the available worldwide forums, but we have taken the additional step to independently secure vaccines using our own limited resources as member states", Ramaphosa said.

The continent has recorded more than 3 million infections, a fraction of the global figure of more than 91 million, though less reliable reporting methods and skepticism from some leaders may have distorted the figure.

Although infection numbers and death rates are comparatively lower across most of Africa, cases are spiking again in some areas, especially here in South Africa where a new variant of COVID-19 is causing particular alarm and makes up most of the new cases.

According to Ndembi, the doses will be readily available by the end of the first quarter.

Ndembi said African officials have approached at least 10 vaccine manufacturers and developers as the continent seeks to vaccinate 60% of its population of 1.3 billion people, or about 780 million people.

"We're expecting 600 million doses from the COVAX facility", he said, but African officials are still waiting on the details, so "we're happy we have alternative solutions".

At the time the country said that it had already submitted all the necessary requirements to the COVAX framework. The Africa CDC has said some 1.5 billion doses are needed for that, assuming two doses per person.

This is estimated at slightly over $10 billion.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also the AU chairman, Wednesday announced that from the provisional 270 million doses, at least 50 million will be available between April and June 2021.

Reports indicate that Africa has scrambled on multiple fronts to obtain vaccine supplies.

Ndembi said the doses will be allocated on the continental platform the AU set up in 2020 to make it easier for the 54 African countries to pool their purchasing power for bulk purchase.

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