J&J, African Union sign deal for up to 400 million COVID-19 vaccines

The African Union (AU) has signed an agreement with pharmaceutical company, Johnson & Johnson for 220 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccines, with potential to order an additional 180 million doses, to bring the toal to 400 million.

The agreement signed Sunday March 28, 2021 through the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT), set up in November 2020 by the AU, will acquire the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine most of which will be produced at the pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in South Africa operated by Aspen Pharma.

According to a press release, the vaccines, when obtained, will be distributed to the countries through the African Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP), over a period of 18 months.

The release further states that the transaction was made possible through the $2 billion facility approved by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), who also acted as Financial and Transaction Advisers, Guarantors, Installment Payment Advisers and Payment Agents.

It noted further that the direct acquisition of vaccines by the African countries through the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team initiative (AVAT) is part of the continental objective to achieve a minimum of 60 per cent immunization of the African population, in order to eliminate COVID-19.

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