The Africa Union (AU) purchased about 270 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for distribution across the continent.
This was made known by the Union’s head, Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa’s President.
“As a result of our own efforts we have so far secured a commitment of a provisional amount of 270 million vaccines from three major suppliers: Pfizer, AstraZeneca (through Serum Institute of India) and Johnson & Johnson,” President Ramaphosa said.
At least 50 million of the doses will be available “for the crucial period of April to June 2021,” he said.
The WHO Regional Director for Africa praised the move during an online media briefing on Thursday.
“Covax can only cover 20% of the African population, so it is really wonderful to see the African Union’s efforts to secure a provisional 270 million doses by the end of 2021…” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti.
The African Export–Import Bank will support the strategy by providing advancements of up to $2 billion to the manufacturers on behalf of member states, Raphomasa added.
The African Union and the World Bank are also working together to to allow member states access to $5 billion to purchase more vaccines, according to Ramaphosa.