Zimbabwe should soon start receiving initial shipments of its 5 million share of the 400 million doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine secured for Africa by the African Union (AU), the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef).
The Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe last month approved the emergency use of Johnson and Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine, the first live vaccine approved, in addition to the previously approved inert vaccines from China, India and Russia.
The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is the main single-shot vaccine available, so the 5 million doses eventually coming Zimbabwe’s way will be enough for 5 million people.
Zimbabwe has already paid US$7,5 million towards its share of the AU facility, and will be able to borrow the remainder, so it can start benefiting when the vaccines bought through that facility are being distributed from this month.
The AU facility sees increasing monthly shipments totalling 50 million doses for the continent by the end of the year and at least 25 million doses a month from January.
Some of the final stages in the manufacturing process are being done in South Africa, the first time any work on Covid-19 vaccines has been done on the continent.
South African President and African Union (AU) Covid-19 Champion, President Cyril Ramaphosa, has now announced that the monthly shipments of vaccines to member states started yesterday.
“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,” he said. — Herald