African Union in Deal with Johnson & Johnson for COVID-19 Vaccines

Nigeria, other AU Countries to Benefit from Johnson & Johnson’s 400 Million COVID-19 Vaccines

Nigeria, other AU Countries to Benefit from Johnson & Johnson’s 400 Million COVID-19 Vaccines

Johnson & Johnson, an American multinational corporation developing medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and consumer packaged goods has signed an agreement with the African Union to manufacture about 220 million doses of single-shot COVID-19 vaccines for the African continent, with the potential of manufacturing an additional 180 million doses.

This is coming as the continent seeks to eradicate COVID-19 by reaching at least, a minimum of 60 per cent immunisation of Africans.

This development came after Nigeria started the vaccination exercise with the 3.94 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford that arrived in early March.

In a statement made public, Afreximbank disclosed that the vaccines would be made available to the AU member states within 18 months via the African Medical Supplies Platform.

In a historic COVID-19 vaccine procurement agreement signed on March 28, 2021, all African Union member states, through the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) set up in November 2020 under the African Union chairmanship of President Cyril Ramaphosa, will have access to 220 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-shot COVID-19 vaccine, with the potential to order an additional 180 million doses.”

Most of the supplies will be produced at the giant pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in South Africa operated by Aspen Pharma. The vaccines will be made available to African countries through the African Medical Supplies Platform, over a period of 18 months.

The agreement was made possible by a $2 billion loan approved by the African Export-Import Bank, and was supported by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

The release also disclosed that UNICEF would act as a procurement and logistics agent as Nigeria in February requested about 18.4 million of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Speaking on the agreement’s success, the Chairman African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, Ramaphosa, who initiated the pact, described the development as a powerful demonstration of African union.

On his part, Afreximbank’s President, Benedict Oramah, said the bank had started engagement with its financial partners to secure additional funding to support procurement if Africa decides to procure the additional 180 million doses.

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