All African Union Member States, through the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT), will have access to the 220 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson single shot COVID-19 vaccine. This initial consignment also has the potential to be expanded by an additional 180 million doses.
The supplies for this endeavour will be produced by Aspen Pharmacare, a South African pharmaceuticals company. The vaccines will be availed to African countries through the African Medical Supplies Platform (ASMP) over a period of 18 months.
Chairman of the African Union, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa took a tour of the facilities in Port Elizabeth along with Johnson & Johnson executives.
“This agreement is a significant milestone in protecting the health of all Africans. It is also a powerful demonstration of African unity and of what we can achieve through partnership between the state sector, the private sector and international institutions that puts people first”President Ramaphosa
The whole deal is worth US$2 billion and was made through the African Export-Import Bank (Afrimex). The bank also acted as the Financial and Transactional Advisers as well as Install Payment Advisers and Payment Agents.
“Afreximbank is proud to be associated with this historic and collective effort. In the midst of a very tight COVID-19 vaccine market, we are highly honoured to have been given the opportunity by the African Union to facilitate this impactful transaction under the auspices of the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT)”Professor Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank
Director for the African Centres for Disease Control, Dr John Nkengsong said that Africa CDC recommended to the continent’s leaders that 750 million Africans (60%) must be immunised to contain the spread of COVID-19. This Johnson & Johnson transaction will now allow Africa to get to 50% of the desired number.
The deal was signed by African Union Special Envoy Strive Masiyiwa and Jaak Peeters, Johnson & Johnson’s Special Envoy for COVID-19 Vaccines.
The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine deal was made possible by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), who supported the negotiation process with Johnson & Johnson. UNICEF is also acting as a procurement and logistics agent. The African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) was supported in terms of advice on various aspects by the World Health Organization (WHO).