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Africa CDC secures 220-million doses of COVID-19 vaccine for the continent – South.Africa.com

The Africa Centre for Disease Control has finally secured a predictable source of COVID-19 vaccines for the continent.

An agreement with ASPEN in South Africa will see a confirmed 220-million doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine shared amongst members of states by September next 2022.

The first batch of 6.4 million doses of the single-shot drug will be dispatched to 35 countries during the month of August.

This vaccine acquisition led by African Union Special Envoy for COVID-19, Strive Masiyiwa, and is support through a loan facility of two billion USD dollars by Afreximbank.

More than eight months since developing nations started their COVID-19 vaccination programmes, Africa has finalised a deal that will see a steady distribution of vaccines for member states’ rollouts.

Having to depend on donations from high-income countries like France and the United States saw African countries experience start-and-stop on their inoculation drives.

The number of doses was also limited meaning the goal to have the majority of adults vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity has shifted.

The deal by the African Union’s African Vaccine Acquisition Trust lead by the Special Envoy for COVID-19, Strive Masiyiwa says the Johnson & Johnson doses from South Africa will be transported and distributed by UNICEF to other nations.

Masiyiwa says that once all countries commit and make their deposits to AVAT, they hope to see the target of 400-million doses.

Included in the distribution is nine Caribbean countries that joined AVAT earlier this year, to fast track their procurement of vaccines.

The allocation of the single-shot drug is dependent on the financial arrangements each member state has made through the Trust and Afreximbank.

Director of the Africa Centre for Disease Control, John Nkengasong, says while uptake for the COVID-19 vaccine had been slow in many countries, the viciousness of the third second and third waves have convinced many to join the queues for the inoculations.

He shared how he believes his life was saved by his inoculation which was administered in April. He caught COVID-19 last month and says he imagines he couldn’t have fought the disease without the protection of the vaccine.

And on achieving herd immunity by next year, he says the goalposts have shifted.

Nkengasong also says there’s has been no fatal side effects reported in Africa associated with any COVID-19 vaccine.

The World Health Organisation’s Afro office says it will be working with member states to strengthen their vaccination drives as shipments arrive in each country.


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