Africa – A total of 110 doses of the Moderna covid 19 vaccine will be delivered to Africa. On the world’s least vaccinated continent, this has been dubbed a breakthrough. Moderna said Tuesday that it expects to provide the first 15 million doses by the end of this year, followed by 35 million in the first quarter of 2022 and up to 60 million in the second quarter. “All doses are available at Moderna’s lowest tiered price,” the statement reads.
Strive Masiyiwa, the African Union’s special envoy for COVID-19, said, “It is a happy day for us,” after African nations had been frustrated for months by vaccine hoarding and delayed delivery from wealthier countries. He praised the United States for effectively allowing African countries to skip forward in line to purchase Moderna dosages. However, it is unknown which African countries will be the first to benefit.
He stressed that African countries will first buy 50 million Moderna vaccines, with the opportunity to buy another 20 million in April, May, and June, based on the company’s performance in December. “We are in a position to get further vaccines from Moderna,” he continued, “but we need to see more precise data about their manufacture in Africa.” Masiyiwa continued, “If this agreement is completely implemented, African countries will be able to reach their aim of vaccinating 450 million people by September 2022.” This is half of the continent’s population, or 900 million people. African countries had previously reached an agreement with Johnson & Johnson for up to 400 million doses.
This is “the first step in our long-term relationship with the African Union,” according to Moderna, which has been vocal about the need for many more COVID-19 vaccine doses. Currently, little over 5% of Africa’s 1.3 billion people are fully immunized.
This agreement is distinct from Moderna’s partnership with the global COVAX project to supply up to 500 million doses from late this year through 2022, according to the company. COVAX seeks to provide doses to countries with poor and medium incomes. In Africa, only about 9% of the population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination. Seth Berkley of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, described the situation as “unacceptable.”