Geneva, 30 August 2021 – African Union Member States are to receive an additional 10 million doses of Astra Zeneca and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX and the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT), thanks to a new arrangement with the French government and the African Union.
As well as a contribution of EUR 200 million in funding, France was the first country to donate doses through COVAX, and 3.7 million doses have already been shipped to 22 countries across Africa and Asia. As part of a pledge of 60 million doses in 2021, this new alliance will ensure that more people in Africa will be able to access vaccines, helping countries battle the pandemic. COVAX, a longstanding partner of the African Union, will be on the frontline in ensuring these doses are allocated and delivered where they are needed.
“Africa has been hard-hit by COVID-19,” stressed Dr Seth Berkley, CEO, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “France’s leadership in dose donation will further the cause of equitable access and help end the acute phase of the pandemic.”
“Dose-sharing is not only the expression of solidarity: it is a key condition to ensure equitable and universal access to high quality vaccine against COVID-19. This partnership built with the African Union and Gavi/COVAX will enable the donation by France of 10 million of Astra Zeneca and Pfizer doses to African countries. It embodies the will of France to stand side by side with African people and face the pandemic together.” Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs.
African Union Special Envoy responsible for the AVAT initiative, Strive Masiyiwa said “Our mission as Africa is to vaccinate at least 60% of our population. We have been working with COVAX in a partnership to make this possible despite the supply challenges. This generous offer by the people of France is very welcome indeed, and we urge other donors to step forward in dose sharing, as well as releasing of production capacity in their countries.”
COVAX has delivered over 55 million doses to the African continent, while also investing in readiness and delivery to ensure countries can roll vaccines out effectively. COVAX looks forward to deepening its existing partnership with the African Union, AVAT and the Africa CDC to work together to fight the pandemic. This will contribute to the African Union’s target of vaccinating at least 60% of the African population.
These doses donated by France are produced by the AstraZeneca and Pfizer manufacturing networks. Donating through COVAX helps to increase vaccine coverage, ensures that no dose goes to waste, and helps to bring an end to the acute phase of the pandemic. The design and operationalization of the COVAX dose sharing mechanism is being supported by a contribution of CAD 5 million from Canada.