The African Union has introduced it’s dropping plans to purchase further doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine straight from the Serum Institute of India and can as a substitute deal with securing additional vaccines from Johnson & Johnson.
John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Illness Management and Prevention (ACDC), mentioned the choice was not associated to current security issues over the AstraZeneca vaccine however “as a result of we work very carefully with COVAX,” the vaccine-sharing facility for the world’s poorest international locations.
Addressing a digital information briefing from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia Thursday, Nkengasong defined the pivot to Johnson & Johnson was to make sure, the “Indian Serum Institute was enabled to have the ability to provide doses to the COVAX mechanism.”
“It was only a clear understanding of how to not duplicate efforts with the Serum Institute, in order that we complement one another relatively than duplicate efforts,” he added.
Final week, the African Vaccine Acquisition Job Group (AVATT) signed an Advance Buy Settlement with Johnson & Johnson for 220 million doses on behalf of the 55 member states of the African Union (AU).
Nkengasong mentioned he hoped the vaccines would “start to be accessible firstly of the third quarter.”
The AU will now discover choices of securing an extra 180 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, he mentioned.
“Provided that the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is a single dose, which means now we have the power – if these vaccines are picked up by international locations – to immunize 400 million folks on the continent,” he mentioned.
The AU’s choice comes a day after EU regulator European Medicines Company (EMA) discovered that there was a “potential hyperlink” between the AstraZeneca vaccine and “very uncommon circumstances of blood clots.”
Nevertheless Nkengasong mentioned, “this (AstraZeneca) vaccine continues to be secure. We’ll nonetheless suggest that the vaccines be used.” He additionally reiterated the findings of the EMA saying, “the advice nonetheless stands that the advantages of receiving the vaccine outweighs the chance of the bizarre and uncommon uncomfortable side effects of the vaccine.”
Nkengasong confirmed that “a complete 33.8 million vaccine doses have been acquired by Member States, with roughly 12.9 million doses administered” to this point.
He welcomed the information that “Seychelles and Mauritius have obtained sufficient COVID vaccine doses to succeed in 20% goal vaccination benchmark, which was what the COVAX facility promised.”
“I believe each little step and progress that we observe within the continent is sweet progress” and “it is at all times good to spotlight these success tales,” he added.