African Vaccine Acquisition Trust delivers 108,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Botswana

BOTSWANA – AVAT has shipped 108,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccines to Botswana as part of a total of 6.4 million vaccine doses to be shipped to African Union Member States this month.

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 immunize a third of the African population.

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 is as part of the African Union’s COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Access Strategy, and its goal of vaccinating at least 60 per cent of the African population with safe and efficacious vaccines against COVID-19.

The agreement with Johnson & Johnson was made possible through a US$2 billion facility provided by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), who are also the Financial and Transaction Advisers, 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.

Assistant Minister of Health and Wellness, Republic of Botswana, Honorable Sethomo Lelatisitswe commended the AVAT partners for the momentous occasion.

“We are deploying relentless efforts to help each Member State to reach its goal of immunizing 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,” Mr Strive Masiyiwa, African Union Special Envoy, said.

So far, confirmed cases of Covid-19 from 55 African countries have reached 7,164,732 while over 53,009,999 vaccinations have been administered across the continent.

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