South African president and African Union (AU) Chairperson, Cyril Ramaphosa, on Thursday confirmed that the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), which he established, has secured a provisional 270 million vaccine doses for the continent.
At least 50 million COVID-19 doses supplied by Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca will be available between April and June 2021, the AVATT noted. The Serum Institute of India is overseeing the process.
President Ramaphosa said “our focus as a continent has been on collaboration and collective effort. We have not only campaigned vigorously for changes through all the available international forums, but we have taken the additional step to independently secure vaccines using our own limited resources as member states,” he added.
Earlier this week, the South African president announced that 1.5 million doses, which will vaccinate about 750,000, people will be delivered to South Africa in the next several weeks.
The official opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) noted that if South Africa is to meet the target of vaccinating 64% of its population by the end of the year, then it needs a sustainable supply of the vaccine which can be ordered in bulk and delivered as soon as possible.
“This is our only way out of this crisis which has plunged millions into poverty and pushed many more into the unemployment queues,” said DA MP Siviwe Gwarube.