The African Union’s special envoy for Covid-19 has said that the continent will finally start receiving doses of the lifesaving Johnson & Johnson vaccine next week, as the virus continues to spread there.
Speaking on Thursday, Strive Masiyiwa, the African Union’s coordinator on Covid-19 vaccines said that around six million doses will be delivered to 27 nations in the weeks up to the end of August.
The shots will only be delivered to the nations who have paid up and marks the first shipment of 400 million vaccines from the American pharma giant. The one-shot vaccine is expected to account for half of Africa’s inoculation requirements.
Masiyiwa stated that deliveries will reach 10 million jabs a month by September and this will further increase to 20 million shots a month in January. By September 2022, the order of 400 million jabs is expected to have been fulfilled. Some of the J&J shots will come from an Aspen Pharmacare facility in South Africa, Masiyiwa noted.
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The AU Covid chief said that, to date, only 60 million doses have been administered on the continent of 1.3 billion people. Many of the nations, 18 precisely, are still finalizing loans with donors such as the World Bank before they are able to make payments.
Nations on the least vaccinated continent are also banking on shots through the COVAX vaccine-sharing initiative as well as on donations from the US and China. Last week the US said that 25 million vaccines would soon be on their way to the continent, in an effort to fight the third wave.
Many African nations have seen their healthcare systems buckle in recent weeks, as the third wave, driven by the more contagious Delta variant, ravages the continent in which less than two percent are fully inoculated.
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