Zambia has been allocated 8.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines under a facility being pioneered by the Africa Union (AU).
Zambia’s Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the AU, Emmanuel Mwamba, announced this on Sunday in a statement issued by First Secretary for Press and Tourism, Inutu Mwanza.
According to Mwamba, the initiative is being done under the COVID-19 African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), a platform which has been created to ensure that up to 60 percent of Africa’s population is vaccinated against the coronavirus by December 2021.
The Ambassador explained that AVATT was created in November 2020 by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also the Chairperson of the AU.
He said AVATT has been mandated to secure the necessary vaccines and blended financing resources for achieving Africa’s COVID-19 vaccination strategy which targets vaccinating a minimum of 60 per cent of Africa’s population.
Mwamba said under the mechanism, the vaccines are being sourced from Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, and AstraZeneca.
He further said a finance facility has been created under the AVATT — the Advance Procurement Commitment (APC) Facility — to be backed by African Import and Export Bank (Afreximbank).
APC aims to guarantee Africa’s access to of COVID-19 vaccines in a manner that reduces the fiscal burden on member countries, Mwamba stated.
The mechanism will also ensure a timely, equitable and cost-effective availability of COVID-19 vaccine supplies within the African continent and by so doing, mitigate the protracted financial and socio-economic costs of the COVID-19.
This is also to provide a credible platform around which a blend of funding can be attached to support Africa’s COVID-19 vaccine procurement requirements.
The Task Team has provisionally secured 270 million vaccine doses for Africa for the critical period from April to December 2021.
Ambassador Mwamba said Zambia’s allocation may rise to 25 million doses by December 2021.
These vaccine doses, which are in addition to the expected COVAX doses, will be distributed through the African Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP).
Mwamba further stated that the vaccines will obtain prior approval by AVATT on the recommendation of the Africa-CDC.
Africa CDC will approve the vaccines having considered the necessary conditions including vaccines which have been trialed in Africa and safety.
Mwamba said the Permanent Representative Committee (PRC) was briefed of the progress that has been made to ensure that member states began to receive the vaccines from March to April 2021. (PANA/NAN)