This is part of a total of 6.4 million vaccine doses to be shipped to African Union Member States in August 2021, it was learned.
During the arrival of the vaccines on Monday, Health Minister Lia Tadesse said “the purchase of these vaccines will boost our national COVID-19 vaccination program- in addition to supporting the ongoing rollout of the COVID.”
In collaboration with the Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP), UNICEF is providing logistical and delivery services to the Member States.
These deliveries are part of the historic COVID-19 vaccine advance procurement agreement signed on March 28, 2021 by AVAT for the purchase of 220 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-shot COVID-19 vaccine, with the potential to order an additional 180 million doses.
The agreement and the start of deliveries mark for the first time that the African Union Member States have collectively purchased vaccines to safeguard the health of the African population.
In total, the 400 million vaccines acquired by AVAT are sufficient to immunize a third of the African population.
The agreement with Johnson & Johnson was made possible through a 2 billion USD facility provided by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).
AVAT was established by the African COVID-19 Vaccine Acquisition Task Team and its goal of vaccinating at least 60 percent of the African population with safe and efficacious vaccines against COVID-19.
This vaccine acquisition and deployment is also supported by an innovative partnership between the World Bank and the AU, African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team to expedite access to vaccines throughout the continent.