The US government is supporting Africa to develop its own vaccines to increase access and ensure sustainability.
Through the International Development Finance Cooperation, the US government is currently supporting the establishment of vaccine manufacturing plants in Senegal and South Africa.
The US government believes that setting up vaccine manufacturing centres will contribute significantly to making the continent resilient in fighting COVID-19 and other pandemics.
Responding to questions on the sustainability of the support to Africa in a digital media briefing on the US COVID-19 vaccines support to AU member countries, the State Department Coordinator for Global COVID-19 Response and Health Security, Gayle E. Smith said: “We believe that, for now, and for the future, it’s important that Africa produces vaccines for its own consumption rather than being dependent on having to import the majority of its medical requirements. So we’re investing through our Development Finance Corporation right now in South Africa and Senegal to increase vaccine production. We will be making other investments – again, to help increase the number of COVID vaccines available, but to increase over time Africa’s ability to produce its own vaccines.”
Ms. Smith further impressed on other countries “to do more, whether through financial contributions to COVAX or sharing their own doses to bring those online as quickly as possible.”
Already, the US Government has donated approximately 25 million doses of vaccines through AU and COVAX to some member countries, which is expected on the shores of beneficiary countries in a few days.
The first countries to receive the vaccine donation include Djibouti, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Gambia and Senegal.
“One of the reasons that we spread this first tranche of doses so far and wide across the continent is that coverage is universally low, so we want to start building that up as quickly as possible,” said Gayle E. Smith.