UNICEF, Janssen sign agreement to supply COVID-19 vaccine to African Union
The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), has signed an agreement with Janssen Pharmaceutical NV to supply up to 220 million doses of the J&J single-dose vaccine for all 55 Member States of the African Union by the end of 2022.
The agreement between UNICEF and Janssen Pharmaceutical NV will help implement the Advance Purchase Commitment (APC) signed between the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust and Janssen in March of this year.
“The agreement secured an option to order another 180 million doses, bringing the maximum access up to a total of 400 million doses by the end of 2022.”
The African Union established AVAT in November 2020 to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to the African continent, with a goal of vaccinating 60 per cent of each AU country’s population.
Under the plan, the African Export-Import Bank and AVAT have signed a cooperation agreement on behalf of the AU for the development of an Advance Procurement Commitment Framework to support Member State access to COVID-19 vaccines.
UNICEF will procure and deliver COVID-19 vaccines on behalf of the AVAT initiative. Other partners include the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Bank.
However, multiple vaccines are anticipated to be part of the initiative’s portfolio, Janssen’s single-dose vaccine is the first to be included.
The UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore said, “African countries must have affordable and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines as soon as possible.
“Vaccine access has been unequal and unfair, with less than 1 per cent of the population of the African continent currently vaccinated against COVID-19, this cannot continue.”
UNICEF with its long history of delivering vaccines all around the world, is supporting global COVID-19 vaccinations efforts through AVAT, COVAX, and other channels to maximize supply and access to vaccines.
Vaccinating the world against COVID-19, as the virus continues to spread and mutate, is one of the largest and most complex collective health undertakings the world.