BY SILENCE MUGADZAWETA
The African Union (AU) expects to distribute 50 million COVID-19 doses to member states between April and June this year, according to the Director of Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), John Nkengasong.
The doses are among the 270 million vaccine doses acquired by the continental body to supplement the COVAX facility, a global initiative that includes governments and manufacturers aimed at distributing COVID-19 vaccines globally.
“At least 50 million out of the 270 million will be available during the crucial period of starting April through June, that period is crucial because that is where there is a bottleneck access to vaccines,” Nkengasong told the media in the AU weekly press briefing.
Africa, like the rest of the world, is in the throes of a second wave of the coronavirus which has seen new infections spiking across the continent.
Pfizer and AstraZeneca will supply the vaccines through independent licensee, Serum Institute of India and Johnson & Johnson.
Afreximbank has been engaged as the financier for the programme.
“The bank will provide advance procurement commitment guarantees of up to about USD 2 billion to manufactures on behalf of the AU members. Upon delivery, countries may pay using their internal resources or access an instalment facility of up to five years offered by the Afreximbank,” Nkengasong said.
Furthermore, AU is collaborating with World Bank to ensure Member States access USD 5 billion to buy more vaccines or pay for the delivery of vaccines committed on their behalf by Afreximbank.
As of 19 January 2021, a total of 3,284,451 Covid19 cases and 79,633 deaths have been reported in 55 AU Member States, accounting for 3,5% of all cases reported globally.
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