Africa has few options to procure Covid-19 vaccines as the outbreak of the disease worsens across many parts of the continent, South Africa’s presidency said.
Pfizer Inc. andBioNTech SE have offered to supply Africa with 50 million Covid-19 vaccines for health workers between March and the end of this year, the presidency said in a response to Bloomberg queries on Sunday.Moderna Inc. has no supplies for Africa, whileAstraZeneca Plc has no shots for the continent in 2021 and has directed the African Union to negotiate with theSerum Institute of India Ltd., which is making the vaccine on behalf of AstraZeneca. South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa is the African Union’s chairman.
Ramaphosa’s response comes after days of withering criticism in South Africa over the country’s vaccine strategy from health leaders, labor unions and opposition parties. Even though four vaccine trials are underway in the country, South Africa has only arranged to purchase enough shots for 10% of its population of 60 million people through the Covax initiative, which is designed to ensure equitable access to the vaccines. These are likely to begin arriving in the second quarter. Some African countries have their own plans for vaccine procurement. Most do not.
“We are working hard in South Africa and on the continent to protect our people against Covid-19,” the presidency said.
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