Africa gets 10 million more COVID doses from France

Member states of the African Union (AU) will receive from Paris 10 million additional doses of AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines…

Member states of the African Union (AU) will receive from Paris 10 million additional doses of AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines against COVID-19.The vaccines will be allocated and distributed under the “African Vaccine Acquisition Fund” (AVAT) initiative and the COVID-19 vaccine global access mechanism (COVAX) over the next three months, according to the Elysée website.


The French presidency explained the AVAT initiative is a pooled procurement mechanism to enable African Union member states to procure enough vaccines to meet at least 50 percent of their needs. It is conducted in close collaboration with the COVAX mechanism, which in turn seeks to provide the remaining 50 percent through donations.


The programme is being piloted on behalf of African Union member states by the African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), which is providing the funds to purchase the vaccines.


According to the French executive, enough vaccines have already been purchased under this initiative to enable African countries to vaccinate 400 million people, or a third of the African population, by September next year at a cost of $3 billion, with the support of an innovative partnership with the World Bank.


In addition, the Elysée publication stated, France will contribute to the platform supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO) which will enable the transfer of RNAm vaccine technology to the African continent.


In addition, it continued, through its new partnership with the AVAT initiative, the French government will further increase these efforts and make progress towards its commitment to share at least 60 million doses of vaccine by the end of 2021.


According to the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, “the donation by the French Republic of 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the African continent is a strong and welcome gesture of human solidarity and political cooperation at a time when the world needs it most.”


Ramaphosa congratulated “President Macron, the government and the people of France for this important contribution to our continent’s fight against the disease and against the sad but not inescapable reality of unequal access to vaccines in many parts of the world, particularly in Africa.”


For his part, his counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, said that this assistance illustrates his willingness as President of the French Republic, to stand with the people of Africa to stand together against the pandemic.


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