Qualifying African nations are set to receive 600 million doses of vaccines for about 20% of populations in African countries. In the first batch of continentwide vaccination efforts, The African Union’s vaccine task force has secured 270 million COVID-19 vaccines, supplied by Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, as well as AstraZeneca, through an independent license with the Serum Institute of India, for African nations.
This batch is strictly for purchase by African nations. Purchases will be made through the Africa Medical Supplies Platform, and the African Export-Import Bank will help countries secure financing by providing advance commitment guarantees of up to $2 billion to manufacturers.
Once vaccines are delivered, countries can either pay for them using domestic resources or can use a five-year installment payment plan through the bank.
This vaccines provision is driven by the COVAX Facility, a global initiative working to provide vaccines to 92 low- and middle-income countries. This year, the facility is expected to provide 600 million doses of vaccines for about 20% of populations in African countries.
However, this falls short of the African Union’s target of vaccinating at least 60% of the continent’s population, which is the level needed to reach herd immunity — a threshold aimed at helping to normalize lives for people across Africa. The newly acquired 270 million vaccine doses will help reduce this gap and increase the expected number of vaccine doses currently available to African nations through the AU and COVAX to 870 million this year.
The first doses of vaccines from the COVAX Facility are expected to arrive in March, with a larger rollout expected in June, said Matshidiso Moeti, Africa regional director at the World Health Organization, during a press conference.
Initially, at least 50 million doses of the vaccines available for purchase will be available between April and June.