AVAT is pleased to announce the shipment of 108,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccines to Botswana on the 12th of August, 2021. This is part of a total of 6.4m vaccine doses to be shipped to African Union Member States in August 2021. The Member States who have ordered vaccines through AVAT will continue to receive shipments for the next following months. In collaboration with the Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP), UNICEF is providing logistical and delivery services to the Member States.
These deliveries are part of the historic COVID-19 vaccine advance procurement agreement signed on 28 March 2021 by AVAT for the purchase of 220 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-shot COVID-19 vaccine, with the potential to order an additional 180 million doses. The agreement and the start of deliveries mark the first time that the African Union Member States have collectively purchased vaccines to safeguard the health of the African population. In total, the 400m vaccines acquired by AVAT are sufficient to immunise a third of the African population.
Vice President of the Republic of Botswana, His Honour Slumber Tsogwane expressed gratitude to the AVAT partners and urged Batswana to get vaccinated. Assistant Minister of Health and Wellness, Republic of Botswana, Honourable Sethomo Lelatisitswe commended the AVAT partners for the momentous occasion stating that “the arrival of these AVAT vaccines fills us with great pride as Africans, to see that our efforts to save the lives of our people are bearing fruits. His Excellency the President of the Republic of Botswana, Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe has consistently stated that the number one priority of this Government reset agenda is to save the lives of Botswana from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Strive Masiyiwa, African Union Special Envoy, said:
“Delivering our first doses to African Union Member States is an unprecedented milestone. We are deploying relentless efforts to help each Member State to reach its goal of immunising 60 per cent of Africans, as recommended by the Africa CDC. Johnson & Johnson AVAT-purchased single-shot vaccines will enable us to considerably improve our vaccination level across the continent.”
Dr. Lul Riek, Southern Africa Regional Collaborator-Africa Union/Africa CDC, welcomed the vaccine consignment and said:
“This historic moment when we are welcoming the AVAT vaccines, is in line with the African CDC Strategy to leave no single country behind and to support all Member States to vaccinate at least 60% of 1.2 billion people in the African continent.
The arrival of this vaccine is a result of the unfailing commitment of the African Union Commission, under the leadership of the Chairperson of African Union Commission H.E Mussa Faki Mohammed, and the Director of Africa CDC, Dr John Nkengasong.”
AVAT was established by the African COVID-19 Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, set up in November 2020 under the African Union chairmanship of HE President Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa. This formed part of the African Union’s COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Access Strategy and its goal of vaccinating at least 60% of the African population with safe and efficacious vaccines against COVID-19.
The agreement with Johnson & Johnson was made possible through a USD 2 billion facility provided by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), also the Financial and Transaction Advisers, Guarantors, Instalment Payment Advisers and Payment Agents, and the technical support of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) who coordinated the alignment of the AU Ministers of Finance on the financing arrangements.
This vaccine acquisition and deployment is also supported by an innovative partnership between the World Bank and the AU, African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team to expedite access to vaccines throughout the continent.