The United States government is set to donate about 25 million vaccines to African Union (AU) member countries in a few days to augment the fight against COVID-19 on the continent.
In a virtual media briefing with selected journalists across the African continent, the State Department Coordinator for Global COVID-19 Response and Health Security, Gayle E. Smith, said, the US government is collaborating with leadership of the AU and COVAX to deliver the vaccines as soon as possible
“We are working closely with the African Union, governments, and COVAX to get these on the ground as quickly as possible.”
Although vaccines have been manufactured in record time to fight the pandemic, African countries in particular have been struggling to gain access.
The plight of various African countries worsened especially when countries which have access to vaccines experienced a surge in Covid-19 cases.
These countries, including India, Brazil and the United Kingdom, had to use these vaccines on their population, as their citizens were being prioritised.
The 25 million doses of vaccines that are expected to be given to these African countries will serve as a huge boost towards the fight against Covid-19 since some countries are experiencing a third wave, and the highly contagious delta variant is being recorded in some African countries.
The first countries in Africa to benefit from the US Government vaccine initiative in the next few days include, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Gambia and Senegal.
The vaccines include the ones from Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J.
Aside from the 25 million vaccines that will be delivered to AU member countries, the continent will also benefit from some 500 million vaccines set to be delivered in August worldwide.
It is however unclear the percentage of the vaccine that will be allocated to AU countries out of the 500 million vaccines
“On the 500 million doses, we are donating those through COVAX. And the way that works is they do allocations every month and at a given time period. And the reason they do that is they need to look around the world, see what the levels of vaccine availability are, what incidence is – they’re also aiming at equity – and then they make the allocation. So I can’t give you an exact number. The first 60 million of those doses will be deployed in August” Gayle E. Smith explained.
Akunna Cook, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs indicated that, the provision of the vaccines to the AU member countries is part of the Biden administration’s commitment to strengthen Africa’s health system.
“All of this is part of our commitment to Africa’s health infrastructure, an infrastructure that is helping us meet the demands of this COVID response. Africa is a priority for this administration, and we are proud of the resilience that African nations have demonstrated in the face of this pandemic. We remain committed to becoming – to staying a leading partner in African countries’ response to pandemics and infectious disease outbreaks.”