fbpx

AstraZeneca to expand vaccine supplies to Africa

BY: Emmanuel Bruce
 Barbara Nel — Country President for Africa, AstraZeneca
Barbara Nel — Country President for Africa, AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca has reiterated its commitment to expand and accelerate its COVID-19 vaccine supplies to the African region through 2022 and beyond.

This is to help governments across the continent reach their vaccination targets.

In Ghana, the government has set for itself a target of at least 17.5 million people who should be vaccinated.

In a statement to mark one year of supplying COVID-19 vaccines to African countries under the COVAX initiative, AstraZeneca noted that it was poised to help Ghana and all other African countries reach their targets.

COVAX is a worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

One year ago, the first doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine began to arrive in countries across the world through the COVAX initiative as part of the largest global vaccination drive in history.

On February 24, 2021, 600,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine were received by health authorities in Ghana. Within days, the Ivory Coast received 504,000 doses. Since then, more than 310 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine have been delivered through COVAX to 130 countries.

An estimated 70 million doses have reached sub-Saharan Africa, making the AstraZeneca vaccine one of the most used COVID-19 vaccine across the continent to date.

No profit

The Country President for Africa, AstraZeneca, said as part of the company’s commitment to putting broad and equitable access at the heart of its pandemic response, it became the first global pharmaceutical company to join COVAX in 2020.

“Our strong partnerships with the Serum Institute of India (SII), GAVI — the Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organisation — are vital to deliver on our commitment to supply Africa with the COVID-19 vaccine at no profit.

“We commend the work being done by governments across the continent to increase immunisation coverage and to protect their citizens from severe disease,” she stated.

She noted that global estimates pointed to the fact that the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine had helped prevent 50 million COVID-19 cases and five million hospitalisations, helping save more than one million lives.