Geneva — Following close collaboration between the African Union (AU)/ African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT), COVAX and the United States Government, AU Member States are set to receive approximately 25 million COVID-19 vaccines to enhance coverage across the continent – contributing to the AU target of vaccinating at least 60% of the African population. The shipments of these donated doses follow from the pledge made by President Biden, President of the United States of America in May to share 80 million doses globally.

The first shipments, planned for the coming days, will see nearly a million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine delivered to Burkina Faso, Djibouti, and Ethiopia.

In total, approximately 25 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be made available to 49 African countries in the coming weeks. The African Union/Africa CDC, AVAT, AFreximbank, COVAX and the US Government have collaborated fully in this process and will continue to support countries’ access to COVID-19 vaccines and readiness for delivery.

“In partnership with the African Union and COVAX, the United States is proud to donate 25 million COVID-19 vaccines to 49 African countries. The Biden Administration is committed to leading the global response to the pandemic by providing safe and effective vaccines to the world.  Working together, we can save lives and bring the COVID-19 pandemic to an end,” said Gayle Smith, Coordinator for COVID-19 Recovery and Global Health, US Department of State.

“Today is a proud moment for Africa in ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines,” said Dr John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC.

“We appreciate the US Government for their support in helping contribute to the AU target to vaccinate 60% of the population in Africa especially at this moment when we are witnessing the third-wave in a number of African countries,” said Strive Masiyiwa, African Union Special Envoy.

“We are pleased to be working closely with the African Union and the US Government to ensure equitable access and timely delivery of approximately 25 million doses to the continent. As the continent battles a surge in cases, we need collective action as we work towards our shared goal of protecting the African population and turning the tide globally against the pandemic,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which leads on procurement and delivery at scale for COVAX.

“The donation of about 25 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Africa by the U.S. Government is a welcome significant gesture. As part of the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) efforts, Afreximbank put in place a US$2 billion Advance Procurement Commitment (APC) Guarantee facility, which ultimately made it possible to secure access to 400 million doses of Johnson and Johnson Covid-19 vaccine. These combined efforts give reason to be optimistic that the African Union’s goal of at least 60% vaccination coverage will be achieved soon,” said Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank.

“Only through Africa’s determination, and our global collective effort to ensure that everyone everywhere has access to the vaccine, will we be able to come out of this pandemic, knowing that we did not leave anyone behind, especially Africa,” said Dr Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

All doses will be delivered by COVAX, which expects to deliver 620 million doses to Africa by the end of 2021, rising to 1 billion doses by the end of the first quarter of 2022. This will contribute to the AU’s goal of 60% coverage.


Notes to editors

About African Union

The African Union (AU) is a continental body consisting of the 55 member states that make up the countries of the African Continent. It was officially launched in 2002 as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU, 1963-1999). https://au.int/en/overview  

About Africa CDC

Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), is a specialized technical institution of the African Union that strengthens the capacity and capability of Africa’s public health institutions as well as partnerships to detect and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats and outbreaks, based on data-driven interventions and programmes.

Learn more at: www.africacdc.org

About COVAX

COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-led by CEPI, Gavi and WHO – working in partnership with UNICEF and PAHO as delivery partners, developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, the World Bank, and others. It is the only global initiative that is working with governments and manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to both high-income and lower-income countries.

About Gavi’s role in COVAX

Gavi leads on procurement and delivery at scale for COVAX: designing and managing the COVAX Facility and the Gavi COVAX AMC and working with its traditional Alliance partners UNICEF and WHO, along with governments, on country readiness and delivery. As part of this role, Gavi hosts the Office of the COVAX Facility to coordinate the operation and governance of the mechanism as a whole, holds financial and legal relationships with 193 Facility participants, and manages the COVAX Facility deals portfolio: negotiating advance purchase agreements with manufacturers of promising vaccine candidates to secure doses on behalf of all COVAX Facility participants. Gavi also coordinates design, operationalisation and fundraising for the Gavi COVAX AMC, the mechanism that provides access to donor-funded doses of vaccine to 92 lower-income economies. As part of this work, Gavi provides funding and oversight for UNICEF procurement and delivery of vaccines to all AMC participants – operationalising the advance purchase agreements between Gavi and manufacturers – as well as support for partners’ and governments work on readiness and delivery. This includes tailored support to governments, UNICEF, WHO and other partners for cold chain equipment, technical assistance, syringes, vehicles, and other aspects of the vastly complex logistical operation for delivery. Gavi also co-designed, raises funds for and supports the operationalisation of the AMC’s no fault compensation mechanism as well as the COVAX Humanitarian Buffer.