An arrangement struck between the African Union (AU) and the White House to secure up to 110 million Covid-19 vaccine doses, APA reports citing Reuters.
The AU is set to buy the vaccine from manufacturer and vaccine developer Moderna Inc. The White House will defer delivery of 33 million doses intended for the United States to facilitate the deal, officials told the news agency.
The AU’s doses will be delivered over the coming months, with 15 million arriving before the end of 2021, 35 million in the first quarter of next year and up to 60 million in the second quarter.
“This is important as it allows us to increase the number of vaccines available immediately,” AU coronavirus envoy Strive Masiyiwa said. “We urge other vaccine producing countries to follow the lead of the (US government) and give us similar access to buy this and other vaccines.”
Masiyiwa said the Moderna purchase represented the first time the 55-member AU had secured vaccines that were not fully produced in Africa.
The new shipments of vaccine are well below what Africa needs to vaccinate its 1.3 billion people, who have had far less access to the life-saving vaccines than more prosperous parts of the world. Getting access to Moderna vaccines adds diversity to the AU’s vaccine supply with different storage requirements.
“We are grateful to have helped negotiate this encouraging step forward between Moderna and the African Union that will significantly expand access to vaccines on the continent in the near-term,” Natalie Quillian, the White House’s deputy coordinator for Covid-19 response said.