The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Africa (Africa CDC) Director John Nkengasong on Thursday announced that the African Union (AU) has reserved 270 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, 50 million of which will be provided by Pfizer and AstraZeneca and will be available between April and June
Africa’s Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Surpass 2.83 Mln: Africa CDC
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have focused as a continent on collaboration and collective effort and have firmly maintained the principle of leaving no country behind,” said South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also the current AU president.
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) will guarantee loans totaling up to US$2 billion for AU countries to purchase the vaccines. These loans could be repaid once the doses have been delivered or within five years.
This new vaccine package will complement the 600 million doses reserved for the region through the COVAX program, an international initiative led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Vaccine Alliance (GAVI).
By 2030, 375 million young people in Africa will reach working age—a population equivalent to the combined populations of Canada and the United States. Just two years ago, the International Labor Organization reported that 160.8 million youth in emerging and developing countries pic.twitter.com/C47bZs0LUJ
— AA Alhaji (@aaalhaji2)
January 10, 2021
Although Nkengasong acknowledged that 270 million doses are not enough for the entire continent, he said it is “a good start,” adding that the acquisition of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine is a possibility under analysis.
Africa is facing a second, more aggressive wave of contagion. With the impossibility of confining millions of citizens, the chances of success in the fight against COVID-19 depend on a massive and rapid distribution of the vaccines to achieve herd immunity.
“Africa as a whole will need 1.5 billion doses to immunize the target of 60 percent of its population,” Ramaphosa recalled, as reported by AllAfrica.