The African Union (AU) has rolled out monthly shipments of vaccines acquired via the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) to its member states.
In March this year, the AU had an agreement to purchase 220 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-shot COVID-19 vaccine, with the potential to order an additional 180 million doses.
While announcing the rollout, AU Chair and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa indicated that the first monthly shipments would arrive in several Member States, and shipments will continue for a total of 6.4 million doses shipped in August, with a target of delivering almost 50 million vaccines before the end of December.
The vaccine is partly manufactured on the African continent, with fill-finish activities taking place at the Aspen Pharmacare facility in Gqeberha in South Africa. In collaboration with the Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP), UNICEF is providing logistical and delivery services to the Member States.
The agreement with Johnson & Johnson was made possible through a $2 billion facility provided by African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), who are also the Financial and Transaction Advisers, Guarantors, Instalment Payment facility providers and Payment Agents.