Delivering a vaccine to Africa
Pfizer and BioNTech have offered to supply 50 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine to Africa for health workers. The shipment is due to arrive between March and the end of 2021, Bloomberg reports.
According to the South African presidency of the African Union, the vaccine is being offered at an "exorbitant price". Negotiations are underway with various vaccine suppliers, including Johnson & Johnson.
Meanwhile, the African Export-Import Bank reported on 24 December that more than $9 billion is needed on an emergency basis for African countries to purchase the minimum amount of COVID-19 vaccine needed to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, most countries in Africa are participants in an international mechanism (COVAX) launched by the World Health Organization together with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization and the Coalition for Innovation in Epidemic Preparedness.
Under the programme, high-income countries pay for vaccines, facilitating access for developing countries. However, experts estimate that no more than 20 per cent of Africa's population can be vaccinated under COVAX this year. This is not enough to stop the COVID-19 epidemic.