A.U opts for J&J as it drops plans to buy COVID-19 vaccines from India’s SII
The African Union (A.U) says it will not secure coronavirus vaccines from the Serum Institute of India (SII) for African nations as it explores options with Johnson and Johnson coronavirus vaccine.
The Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention Director John Nkengasong said ACDC explores options with Johnson and Johnson (J&J) coronavirus vaccine.
He spoke during a last virtual meeting that has been held for a week, saying AU would seek additional supplies from Johnson & Johnson.
“It was just a clear understanding of how not to duplicate efforts with the Serum Institute, so that we complement each other rather than duplicate efforts,” he said.
However, Nkengasong maintained that the institute will still supply the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine through the COVAX facility.
“We have put in place together with WHO systems to monitor side effects of and rear occurrences of AstraZeneca vaccines administration on Africans,”
The statement comes a day after European and British medicine regulators said they had found possible links between AstraZeneca’s vaccine and reports of very rare cases of brain blood clots, but they reaffirmed its importance in protecting people.
Nkengasong said the possible link had nothing to do with the A.U’s decision.
A.U shifted efforts to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, said Nkengasong, after the deal signed last week to secure up to 400 million doses beginning in the third quarter of this year.
The 55 member states will first have access to 220 million doses of the single-shot COVID-19 vaccine, with a potential to order an additional 180 million doses.
The transaction was made possible through the African Export-Import Bank’s (Afreximbank) Ksh.216 billion ($2 billion) facility. The bank also acted as Financial and Transaction Advisers, Guarantors, Installment Payment Advisers and Payment Agents for the deal.
Most of the vaccines will be produced at the pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in South Africa, which Aspen Pharma operates.
African countries will get the vaccines through the African Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP) over a period of eighteen months.