J&J approves pact to supply 400m COVID-19 Vaccines to African Union

*Johnson & Johnson has okayed a pact to supply about 400 million COVID-19 Vaccine doses to the African Union in its single shot regime, easing distribution across the continent

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As vaccinations against the damaging novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues across the world, Johnson & Johnson has agreed to supply as many as 400 million virus vaccines to the African Union (AU) through the end of next year.

The development is considered a boost to the African continent reportedly trailing most of the world in the race to immunise against the disease.

The United States-based drugmaker in a statement Monday, March 29 said it could make available as many as 220 million doses of its single-shot candidate to the AU’s 54 member states starting in the third quarter of 2021.

According to Johnson & Johnson, further 180 million doses could then be delivered the following year.

Underscoring the significance of vaccinations, J&J Chief Executive Officer Alex Gorsky said in the statement that “no one is safe until everyone is safe, and we have been committed to equitable, global access to new COVID-19 vaccines.”

The pact follows agreements with AstraZeneca Plc, Pfizer Inc. and the makers of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, according to report.

While the J&J vaccine has started to receive approval in some countries around the world, the delivery commitment to the AU will depend on regulatory backing from member nations, Bloomberg report said.

The dose’s requirement for just a single shot is seen as beneficial for Africa, where distribution is likely to present a major challenge.

South Africa has already started administering the vaccine to health workers as part of a medical trial, and J&J agreed last year that Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Limited can manufacture doses in the country.

J&J in December signed a separate agreement to supply the global programme known as Covax with as many as 500 million doses of its shot.

The company said at the time that it expected to provide 100 million doses of its vaccine in 2021 as part of the initial accord with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, one of the partners in Covax.

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