BY LORRAINE MUROMO
African Union member states are expected to receive an additional 10 million doses of Astra-Zeneca and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines over the next three months thanks to a new partnership between the French government and the African Union.
Vaccines will be allocated and distributed through the initiative known as the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) and the global COVAX vaccine initiative.
This was confirmed yesterday by French President Emmanuel Macron.
“The solution to the pandemic will only come from strong cooperation, between multilateral, regional and national actors,” Macron said.
“On the strength of our solid partnership with the African Union, I would like us to rely together on the expertise and political legitimacy of African leaders. Thus 10 million doses of Astra-Zeneca and Pfizer vaccines will be given by the French to the African Union, which will decide on their allocation, in coordination with COVAX.
He added: “This demonstrates my desire, as President of France, to be alongside Africans and to face the pandemic together. “
The AVAT initiative is a pooled procurement mechanism that allows African Union member states to purchase 50% of their vaccine needs.
AVAT works closely with the COVAX initiative, which seeks to provide the remaining 50% through donations.
AVAT is managed by an alliance of African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, as well as the African Import-Export Bank, which also finances the procurement of vaccines.
The facility has already procured vaccines for 400 million people, which represents a third of Africa’s population, by September next year, at a cost of $ 3 billion, supported by an innovative partnership with the World Bank.
South African President and African Union COVID-19 Champion Cyril Ramaphosa said: “The donation by the French Republic of 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the African continent is a clear and welcome demonstration of solidarity human rights and political cooperation at a time when the world needs it most.
“A safer and healthier Africa is a prerequisite for a safer and healthier world. I congratulate President Emmanuel Macron and the French government and people for this important contribution to our continent’s fight against disease and against the unfortunate and preventable reality of unequal access to vaccines in many regions of the world, including in Africa.
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