AU, UNICEF, MTN, Others To Secure COVID-19 Vaccines For Africa

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As COVID-19 cumulative cases in Africa exceed three million and daily cases currently surpassing the peak numbers recorded in the first wave of the pandemic, five organisations are in the forefront to ensure that the vaccines get to the continent.The World Health Organization (WHO) had earlier affirmed that rich countries are squabbling over COVID-19 vaccine supplies, warning that  the hoarding of shots will keep the pandemic burning.

In a bid to ensure that the availability of COVID-19 vaccines in poor countries and to ensure Africa is not left out in the equation, African Union, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), MTN, Africa Medical Supplies Platform and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have taken up the responsibility.

In a press statement, made available to LEADERSHIP, the African Union (AU) has secured an additional 400 million doses of coronavirus vaccines for its members and this comes after an earlier announcement by the AU that it had secured 270 million vaccine doses.

The statement also reveals that, “UNICEF, the largest single vaccine buyer globally, with decades of experience in providing vaccines and routine immunisations across the world, has collaborated with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), to procure and supply approved  COVID-19 vaccines for 92 low- and lower middle-income countries around the world, of which 25 per cent of them are in West and Central  Africa. To ensure this, UNICEF has also keyed into a cold chain initiative, helping governments set this in place before the vaccines arrived.

 

“The MTN Group, which is one of the largest telecommunication operators on the continent, is supporting the AU’s vaccination programme with a donation of $25 million, as the donation will help secure up to seven million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for health workers across the continent.