African Union gets 270 Million Coronavirus Vaccines

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The African Union (AU) has obtained 270 million vaccines against Covid-19 for the continent , the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa who is also the current head of the 15 nation bloc’s, said on Wednesday.

“We have gone a step further to obtain vaccines independently using our own limited resources,” Ramaphosa said.

The vaccines, of which at least 50 million will be available between April and June, will be supplied by the laboratories Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca— whose production is in India, and Johnson & Johnson.

Agreements to help African countries finance the purchase of these vaccines have been reached with the pan-African Afreximbank (Africa Export-Import Bank) and the World Bank.

Africa has so far been relatively spared by the pandemic as the continent has recorded just over 3 million cases and more than 74,000 deaths, contrary to figures of several European countries and the United States.

Nonetheless, several nations on the continent are facing a second wave of the epidemic — such as South Africa, which has been and still is the most affected country with more than 1.2 million cases and 35,000 deaths.

The initiative launched by the AU is separate from the Covax scheme, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and private partners, for equitable access to vaccines.

WHO’s objectives
The WHO’s objective is to provide doses for up to 20% of the population of participating countries before the end of the year- with funding for these vaccines assured for the 92 most economically challenged countries in the world as well as certain others in better conditions.

Last week, it announced that these countries would receive the first doses between the end of January and mid-February.

However, Scientists at the African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) have indicated that at least “60% of the population must be immunised to significantly slow the spread of the disease.”

 

Olajumoke Adeleke

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