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AU acquires 270m Covid-19 vaccine doses


The African Union (AU), led by President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, has announced the acquisition of a provisional 270 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines for the continent.

The vaccines, according to President Ramaphosa, was secured from at least three different suppliers, including Pfizer and BioNTech’s jab.

“As a result of our own efforts we have so far secured a commitment of a provisional amount of 270 million vaccines from three major suppliers: Pfizer, AstraZeneca (through Serum Institute of India) and Johnson & Johnson,” President Ramaphosa said on Wednesday.

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At least 50 million of the doses will be available “for the crucial period of April to June 2021,” he said.

This is a big boost for Africa as it also expects around 600 million doses from the global Covax effort which aims to provide vaccines to lower-income countries.

Mr Ramaphosa said officials are worried that the doses from the Covax effort released in the first half of 2021 will only be enough to inoculate health care workers. With a population of 1.3 billion people and each person requiring two vaccine jabs, Africa would need around 2.6 billion doses to eventually vaccinate everyone.

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“These endeavours aim to supplement the Covax efforts, and to ensure that as many dosages of vaccine as possible become available throughout Africa as soon as possible,” he explained.

Africa has recorded more than three million cases of Covid-19 and nearly 75,000 deaths. By contrast, the US has reported close to 23 million infections and more than 383,000 fatalities.

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Source: BBC