The Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP), on behalf of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), announced on Tuesday the launch of the COVID-19 vaccines pre-order programme for the 55 African Union (AU) member states, including Egypt.
In a statement, sent to Ahram Online, AMSP said that the programme is supported by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) that will facilitate payments by providing advance procurement commitment guarantees of up to $2 billion to the manufacturers on behalf of the member states.
The programme launch came on the wake of the announcement made by the African Union Chairperson, President Cyril Ramaphosa on 14 January that the African Union has secured a provisional 270 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for Africa through its COVID-19 African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), according to the statement.
Previously, AVATT has secured a provisional 270 million COVID-19 vaccines doses from Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca.
“These are historical times. For the first time in history, Africa has secured access to millions of vaccine doses in the middle of a pandemic as most of Western countries. There is still a huge shortage of vaccine doses and that is why this continental collaboration has designed a fair allocation coupled with timely and equitable access of COVID-19 vaccines across the continent," said African Union Special Envoy Strive Masiyiwa.
“Our vaccine financing facility builds on the success of our Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation Facility (PATIMFA) to open access to COVID-19 vaccines to African states based on a whole-of-Africa approach favoured by the African Union. By providing advance procurement commitment guarantees of up to $2 billion to candidate vaccine manufacturers, Afreximbank will ensure that African states are able to rapidly access COVID-19 vaccines, at competitive prices and in a timely manner thereby contributing to saving lives and livelihoods," according to the President and Chairman of the Afreximbank Board of Directors, Benedict Oramah.
To support vaccination operations, the AMSP has also launched a new category on vaccine accessories which will help AU’s member states to procure products such as ultra-low temperature freezers, personal protection equipment, cotton wool rolls, syringes and needles.
“The biggest challenges to COVID-19 vaccine access in Africa have been the financing of the vaccines and the logistics of vaccinating at scale, but we are glad that this gap is being filled by the Afreximbank financing facility. The critical decision now is how to get started so that once we start there will be no disruptions and this is where AMSP will play a very big role,” said Director of Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), John Nkengasong.