Burkina Faso, Djibouti and Ethiopia Will be First African Countries to Get COVID-19 Vaccines Donated by US
Vaccine supplies have dried up in most African countries after COVAX was unable to procure supplies from India.

Burkina Faso, Djibouti, and Ethiopia will be the first African countries to benefit from the US donation of COVID-19 vaccines, with a million doses expected “in the coming days” as part of the US pledge to provide 25 million vaccines to the continent, US officials and the global vaccine alliance, Gavi, said on Friday.

This comes amid a surge in cases on the continent, which has seen COVID-related deaths increase by 43% in the past week.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccines are being delivered via the Africa Union’s African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) and the global vaccine delivery platform, COVAX.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged the vaccination of 10% of the world’s population by the end of September, but Africa has only vaccinated 1.3% of the continent’s population, according to the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

African Vaccination Figures, July 2021

Donated vaccines will go to 49 African countries in the coming weeks as part of a collaboration between the African Union and Africa CDC, AVAT, financing bank AFreximbank, COVAX and the US government.

“We appreciate the US Government for their support in helping contribute to the AU target to vaccinate 60% of the population in Africa especially at this moment when we are witnessing the third-wave in a number of African countries,” said Strive Masiyiwa, AU Special Envoy and head of AVAT.

“In partnership with the African Union and COVAX, the United States is proud to donate 25 million COVID-19 vaccines to 49 African countries,” said Gayle Smith, Coordinator for COVID-19 Recovery and Global Health, US Department of State.

“The Biden Administration is committed to leading the global response to the pandemic by providing safe and effective vaccines to the world.  Working together, we can save lives and bring the COVID-19 pandemic to an end.”

The African allocation is part of the 80-million dose donation recently announced by US President Joe Biden.

Financial institution Afreximbank has put in place a US$2 billion Advance Procurement Commitment (APC) Guarantee facility to buy 400 million J&J doses, according to Prof Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank.

“These combined efforts give reason to be optimistic that the African Union’s goal of at least 60% vaccination coverage will be achieved soon,” said Oramah.

COVAX  “expects to deliver 620 million doses to Africa by the end of 2021, rising to 1 billion doses by the end of the first quarter of 2022”, according to Gavi.

Meanwhile, the Partnerships for African Vaccine Manufacturing (PAVM) launched in April, recently reported that Senegal, the European Union, the US and other partners, have signed an accord to finance vaccine production at the Institut Pasteur of Dakar.

Earlier in July, Morocco and Swedish company Recipharm signed a memorandum of understanding to establish and scale up COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing capacity in the country. 

In late June, the South African government, Biovac, Afrigen Biologics & Vaccines, a network of universities, the World Health Organization (WHO), COVAX, and Africa CDC announced the establishment of the first COVID-19 mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub in Africa.


Image Credits: WHO African Region .

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