AU Member States collectively purchased 4oo million doses to safeguard the health of African population
After receiving shipments of 72,000 AstraZeneca vaccines from COVAX and 302,000 Johnson & Johnson doses from the U.S., the government of Lesotho was pleased to announce the receipt of a further supply of 108,000 J&J doses from the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT), which arrived on 07 August 2021. This is part of a total of 6.4 million doses to be shipped to African Union (AU) Member States this month. The AVAT, an initiative led by the AU to combine the members’ purchasing power, signed a historic agreement for the purchase of 220 million doses of the J&J’s single-shot COVID-19 vaccine in March this year, with the potential to order an additional 180 million doses. The vaccines are partly manufactured on the African continent, with fill to finish activities taking place in South Africa.
Cyril Ramaphosa, the President of the Republic of South Africa and AU COVID-19 Champion announced the start of monthly shipments of vaccines acquired by the initiative to the AU Member States on 05th August 2021. “This is a momentous step forward in Africa’s efforts to safeguard the health and well-being of its people. By working together and by pooling resources, African countries have been able to secure millions of vaccine doses produced right here in Africa. This will provide impetus to the fight against COVID-19 across the continent and will lay the basis for Africa’s social and economic recovery,” President Ramaphosa. It is expected that each month, Lesotho will receive the same number of vaccines until their 1.6 million dose order has been fulfilled.