Burundi Considers Joining African Union Vaccine Purchase Program
(Bloomberg) -- Burundi has entered into talks with the African Union on joining the continental body’s vaccine procurement program.
The Burundian government “has now engaged” the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Trust, John Nkengasong, director of the AU’s Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, said at a briefing on Thursday. If it does join, it would leave Eritrea as the continent’s only holdout from the initiative, he said.
While African countries have so far received only 10% of the 300 million doses they expected under the Covax vaccine-sharing initiative, the supply pipeline now looks more promising, Strive Masiyiwa, AVAT’s coordinator, said at the same briefing. Nations on the continent recently started buying single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccines through the AU program, with 6.4 million acquired last month, and a further 20 million anticipated in September, he said.
The AU is targeting the inoculation of 60% of Africa’s population by September 2022.
The continent expects to take delivery of about 470 million vaccines by the end of the year, according to Masiwiya. About 200 million will come from European nations and a similar amount from Covax and the U.S. government, while 70 million J&J doses will be acquired under AVAT, he said.
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