African Union to buy 110 million COVID-19 vaccines doses from Moderna

Continental body signs supply agreement with US company as it looks to diversify vaccine options.

The AU is planning to purchase about 110 million doses of the U.S. company’s COVID-19 vaccines. The arrangement which was announced by Moderna earlier today was partly brokered by Washington, which will defer delivery of some 33 million doses intended for the U.S. to see the deal through. “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 and give us similar access to buy this and other vaccines.” The continental body plans to deliver the vaccines over the coming months, with 15 million expected before year end, 35 million during the first quarter of 2022 and up to 60 million is expected during the second quarter.

According to Masiyiwa, this would be the first time the 55-member AU had secured vaccines that were not fully produced in Africa. While some progress has been made with vaccinating the continent’s 1.3 billion population, Africa still desperately lags its global counterparts with just over 5 percent vaccinated to date. Thus, the arrangement with Moderna is seen as a positive step in diversifying the continent’s vaccine supply options. “We are pleased to be able to supply our vaccine to the African Union through this agreement, which was facilitated in part by the White House team. This is the first step in our long-term partnership with the African Union. We would like to thank the African Union and the White House for helping to make this possible,” said Stéphane Bancel, Moderna's CEO.