This year the African Union announced that it had secured close to 300 million COVID-19 vaccine doses. The news excited many countries, especially the developing nations. Some of these countries had placed all their hopes on acquiring coronavirus shots on the COVAX initiative. The COVAX initiative had been established to help avoid an international mad rush for vaccines. The initiative would make sure each nation would have access to the COVID shots equally and fairly.
The African Union Launches Vaccine search.
But when vaccines became accessible, well-off countries started utilizing their resources to buy as many vaccines as possible without caring about other nations. This left many countries, especially in Africa, exploring alternatives to get as many vaccine doses as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the COVAX initiative also struggled to get vaccine shots. With the realization that the organization couldn’t deliver, some lower-income nations chosen to pull out the initiative altogether.
But the African Union’s news of the acquisition of 300 million vaccine doses gave Africa a fighting chance. The continent had begun to struggle with the second wave of infections and concerns of more-infectious variants. An African Union official revealed that African countries would pay between $3 and $10 per vaccine dose. These prices were similar to those the COVAX initiative had earlier provided to nations worldwide.
The A.U. also stated they planned on securing 100 million shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute at $3 each. Additionally, the A.U said it had reached out to the Pfizer vaccine developers. From their discussion, the developers said they would provide the African Union with 50 million doses of the two-shots Pfizer vaccine at $6.75 each. Furthermore, the African Union said it had secured 120 million doses of the single-shot J&J vaccine at $10 each. The organization said it expected the arrival of the J&J vaccine in the coming weeks as trials would be complete then.
Russia Offers the A.U 300 million Vaccine Doses.
This week the African Union announced that Russia had offered 300 million doses of its Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, Russia also offered a financing package for countries waiting to secure the vaccine shots. According to the A.U, the Russian vaccine would be available in May or from June.
The African Union plans on having 60% of Africa’s 1.3 billion population vaccinated over roughly the next three years. Just a few nations in Africa have started to roll out their vaccination programs, as only a few countries have received vaccine doses. Some of the nations in Africa depend on the wealthier nation’s generosity to help them bring the COVID-19 pandemic to an end.
Russia has marketed its Sputnik V vaccine globally. The country has struck manufacturing deals for the vaccine with Brazil, South Korea, and India. The nation has also offered to supply doses to countries including Venezuela and Hungary for free. But Russia’s decision to provide the A.U shots of the Sputnik V vaccine will be among the biggest foreign supply deal to date.