Johnson & Johnson and the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust Team (AVATT) have signed an agreement to make available up to 400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to all 55 African Union member states.
According to the agreement, 220 million doses of its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine candidate to African Union member states with delivery beginning in the third quarter of 2021.
AVATT also has the potential to order an additional 180 million doses, for a combined total of up to 400 million doses through 2022, Johnson & Johnson said in a statement on Monday.
“From the beginning of this pandemic, Johnson & Johnson has recognized that no one is safe until everyone is safe, and we have been committed to equitable, global access to new COVID-19 vaccines,” said Alex Gorsky, the chairman and chief executive officer of Johnson & Johnson.
“Our support for the COVAX Facility, combined with supplementary agreements with countries and regions, will help accelerate global progress toward ending the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gorsky added.
Most of the supplies will be produced at the giant pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in South Africa operated by Aspen Pharma, AVATT said in a statement on Monday.
It said the COVID-19 vaccines will be made available to countries across the African continent through the African Medical Supplies Platform over a period of 18 months.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday toured the facilities of Aspen Pharma in Port Elizabeth with Johnson & Johnson Executives to inspect preparations for the production of vaccines.
The production of vaccines at the facility will also boost jobs in South Africa.
At least 44 African countries have received vaccines through the COVAX facility or through donations and bilateral agreements, according to the World Health Organization.
Africa has so far confirmed more than 4.18 million coronavirus cases, with 3.69 million recoveries and 111,919 deaths, according to the latest figures from Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.