The South African presidency announced in a statement, obtaining 270 million vaccines in order to stop the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in Africa.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa who holds the rotating presidency of the AU on Wednesday convened the bureau of the conference of heads of state and government of the union by videoconference to examine the funding arrangements and deployment of the vaccine against Covid-19 as part of the global collaboration called “Access to Covid19 Tools accelerator”
Indeed, according to the information in our possession, the vaccines, of which at least 50 million will be available between April and June, will be supplied by the laboratories Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca whose production is in India, and Johnson & Johnson. “We have taken a further step to obtain vaccines independently using our own limited resources,” said South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, quoted in the statement. Agreements to help African countries finance the purchase of these vaccines have been made with the Pan-African Afreximbank (Africa Export-Import Bank) and the World Bank.
Africa has been officially relatively spared from the pandemic so far: the continent has recorded just over three million cases and over 74,000 deaths, according to official data, against 16 million cases and over 500,000 deaths for South America and the Caribbean for example. But several countries on the continent are facing a virulent second wave of the epidemic, like South Africa, the country by far the most affected with more than 1.2 million cases and 35,000 deaths.
The initiative launched by the African Union is distinct from the Covax system, the World Health Organization (WHO) and private partners, for equitable access to vaccines. WHO’s goal is to deliver doses for up to 20% of the population of participating countries by the end of the year, with funding for these vaccines secured for the 92 poorest countries or slightly more. rich in the world.
Last week, the WHO announced that they would receive the first doses between late January and mid-February. “While the Covax initiative is essential for Africa, the African Union fears that the volumes that will be available between February and June will not exceed the needs for caregivers and therefore not be sufficient to contain the growing numbers of the pandemic in Africa, ”the statement explains. Furthermore, the goal of immunizing 20% of the population is not enough to curb the virus, the South African statement said.
« Scientists from the African Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) have indicated that we need to reach at least 60% of the population to significantly slow the spread of the disease. » The AU Mission to Find Vaccines is in talks with other manufacturers to obtain more vaccines, says the South African presidency, which insists that there is still a long way to go « to defeat the virus. After this announcement, it would now be necessary to manage the theses of the conspirators refractory to any ideas of a vaccination campaign on the continent.