The AstraZeneca Africa Director, Barbara Nel, has disclosed that a total of 1.6 billion fully funded COVID-19 vaccines would be made available for COVAX dependent countries later this year through to 2022.
She mentioned that countries that have successfully vaccinated the vast majority of their populace and still have excess vaccines are donating them for countries that are struggling to effectively vaccinate their people.
Speaking in an exclusive interview on Citi TV’s Point of View, the AstraZeneca Africa Director explained that the challenge with AstraZeneca’s distribution of adequate vaccines to African countries was as a result of the deadly second wave that hit India, and subsequently led to a ban in the exportation of AstraZeneca vaccines by the Serum Institute of India, which is one of the world’s leading COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer.
Barbara Nel, who did not give a definite time frame for the distribution of the said 1.6 billion doses, however, explained that her company, AstraZeneca, is working closely with COVAX and various governments to ensure the vaccines are rolled out later this year and by 2022.
“There has been a significant breakthrough that has happened in the last couple of weeks through a Japan summit … where countries that have an excess of vaccines are essentially donating.”
“And what we currently know within the COVAX facility there is commitment around 1.6 billion fully funded doses in 2021, and into 2022. So we continue to work very closely as AstraZeneca through COVAX with both governments that should be receiving vaccines such as what we have here in Ghana as well as governments that can be donating to ensure that the vaccines are flowing.” She said.
Barbara Nel also added that as and when the COVID-19 situation in India improves, Africa and other COVAX countries will “see the vaccines flowing in the right quantities.”
Ban on vaccine exportation in India cause of vaccine shortages
AstraZeneca Africa Director, Barbara Nel, said the lack of adequate AstraZeneca vaccine distribution in the Africa region and particularly Ghana, can be attributed to the “devastating COVID-19 second wave that happened in India”
“It is a very disturbing image map and the situation that we have in Africa right now has reached a critical point. I think one of the key thing is, in February, March we saw alot of initial donations coming in, we saw Ghana leading the way, the first recipient of COVAX vaccines, and it was almost a bit of a competition between Ghana and Ivory Coast, who is going to administer the first vaccine and in the course of this a really devastating second wave that we saw in India, and one of the things that happened to the export from India, is that there was basically a ban put on that, and that has caused this gap.”