The African Union has secured the supply of nearly 300 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine in what represents the largest deal of its kind ever for the continent, an official said Tuesday.
Nicaise Ndembi, chief scientific advisor to the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told The Associated Press in an interview that current African Union President Cyril Ramaphosa is planning to announce the deal on Wednesday.
The 300 million doses are a separate supply from the global COVAX campaign aimed at distributing COVID-19 vaccines in low-income countries, Ndembi said.
“We have reached the final phase of our agreements,” he said, noting that questions about who will provide the vaccines and at what cost would be answered in the official announcement.
Although the richest countries have received requests to donate any surplus doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the nations most in need, Ndembi commented that “the CDC of Africa is not going to beg for vaccines. We are going to buy them… All those doses that I mentioned have been acquired and paid for ”.
Meanwhile, coronavirus cases are increasing in some parts of the continent, particularly in South Africa, where a new variant of the virus now accounts for the majority of new infections. Over the weekend, Africa surpassed 3 million confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic, with more than 1.2 million reported in South Africa.