On Monday, the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) said African countries will be able to access up to 400 million Covid-19 vaccine doses from US pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson.
The South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is chairperson of the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVATT), an initiative to help the continent secure coronavirus vaccine doses said this agreement is a significant milestone in protecting the health of all Africans
The agreement secures 220 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the first instance, with the opportunity to buy an additional 180 million doses. The price per dose was not outlined.
He said the vaccines will be produced by a South African pharmaceutical company Aspen Pharma through an agreement with the US drugmaker. Most of the doses will be produced at Aspen Pharma’s facility in the Eastern Cape.
He said “Aspen belongs to us as South Africans. We as South Africans must be in pole position to receive these vaccines and for them to be made available to the continent immediately”
Afreximbank said that African countries had a strong preference for the Johnson & Johnson jab. It is a single shot dose that has been granted emergency use status by the US Food and Drug Administration.
The deal was made through some US$2 billion.
The African continent had struggled to secure doses of Covid-19 vaccines, as pharmaceutical companies struck deals with more powerful and wealthy countries.