The African Union (AU) has partnered with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) to secure variations of Covid-19 vaccines for the continent’s 1.3 billion people.
The Union had initially relied on the World Health Organization’s Covax initiative to secure vaccines but the programme only covers 20% of the population in the vast continent. To reach the remaining 80%, the union has to look to other sources for vaccination.
Africa CDC Chief, John Nkengasong revealed at the Bloomberg Invest Africa online conference that the union has been in consultations with China and Russia over the possibility of having vaccine partnerships to secure Africa’s place in the race for vaccines.
These vaccinations could be from the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products and Sinopharm in China, and Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute with the Sputnik V vaccine. The union is getting funds from the Afreximbank ($5 billion) and the World Bank (through the $12 billion vaccine procurement fund for developing nations).
The move by the African Union is similar to that of its European counterpart. The European Union (EU) has signed contracts with different companies that have ongoing vaccination trials including CureVac, AstraZeneca, Sanofi-GSK, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, BioNtech-Pfizer, and Moderna.
Such diversified vaccine selection will guarantee the 28-member bloc a well-prepared vaccination process for its more than 400 million population, once the jabs have been confirmed to be reliable and effective. The EU member states can also decide to distribute the vaccine to lower and middle-income countries or to redirect it to other European countries.
There are currently over 2.1 million confirmed cases of coronavirus across Africa with 1.78 million recoveries and more than 50,000 deaths, according to the latest data by the John Hopkins University and Africa CDC on Covid-19 in the continent.
Ameenah Hassan is an intern at Arbiterz.