The Sunday Mail
Sunday Mail Correspondent
THE African Union Special Envoy on the Covid-19 crisis, Mr Strive Masiyiwa, says Africa will get more than one billion doses of vaccines by year-end.
In May 2020, the African Union appointed Masiyiwa as a special envoy to rally the private sector to provide solutions to Covid-19, while helping the continent to source personal protective equipment (PPE) and other material to combat the pandemic.
Speaking recently, Mr Masiyiwa said international donors had already pledged 700 million free doses this year under the global finance initiative, Covax.
This would be enough to vaccinate at least 27 percent (324 million out of 1,2 billion people) of the African population.
Based on advice from scientists at the Africa Centre for Disease Control (Africa CDC), the continent must vaccinate 750 million (60 percent) of its population to stop the virus spreading.
Governments around the world, including the United States and Europe, have set even higher targets.
Africa is trying to secure more vaccines directly by purchasing on a pooled basis to get better prices.
South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa has set up a taskforce that is negotiating with manufactures on behalf of the continent.
So far the taskforce has secured an additional 300 million doses, as well as loans for those countries that cannot afford.
Mr Masiyiwa said small shipments will begin as early as this February, but substantive quantities will only start to flow to every country by April.
He added that the Vaccine Acquisition TaskForce was extremely confident it would secure the additional 500 million doses needed to reach 60 percent in a matter of weeks.
He warned, however, that preparations for rolling out large volumes of vaccines needed to start right away because the task was not going to be easy.
All vaccines will be distributed on an equitable basis through the Africa Medical Supplies Platform, an e-commerce website that allows countries to receive donations and to buy supplies.