Covid-19: Unicef ​​to provide 220 million doses of vaccine to the African Union

Through an agreement signed on Wednesday July 8 with Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) will provide up to 220 million doses of the single-dose J&J vaccine to member countries of the African Union (UA) by the end of 2022. The Union is expected to receive some 35 million doses by the end of this year.

The deal comes as the African continent faces the largest increase in COVID-19 cases to date, and vaccine supply challenges have left many countries with large unvaccinated populations. It will allow, among other things, the implementation of the Advance Purchase Commitment (APC) signed between the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) and Janssen in March 2021, and which guaranteed an option to order 180 million additional doses. , bringing maximum access to a total of 400 million doses by the end of 2022.

“African countries must have affordable and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines as soon as possible. Access to vaccines has been uneven and unfair, with less than 1% of the population of the African continent currently vaccinated against Covid-19. This cannot continue, ”said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “UNICEF, with a long history of delivering vaccines around the world, supports global COVID-19 immunization efforts through AVAT, COVAX and other channels to maximize vaccine supply and access. ”

Note that UNICEF will purchase and deliver COVID-19 vaccines on behalf of the AVAT initiative set up in November 2020 by the African Union to provide COVID-19 vaccines to the African continent, with the aim of vaccinating 60% of the population of each country. As part of this plan, the African Import-Export Bank (Afreximbank) and AVAT signed a cooperation agreement on behalf of the AU for the development of a framework for prior engagement in procurement (APC) to support member states’ access to COVID-19 vaccines. Other partners include the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the World Bank. While several vaccines are expected to be part of the initiative’s portfolio, Janssen’s single-dose vaccine is the first to be included.

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