The Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) says Russia has offered it 300 million doses of its Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine.
The African Union’s (AU) vaccine task team also announced Russia’s offering of a financing package for countries wanting to secure the shots.
The Russian vaccine will be available for a period of 12 months starting May 2021, according to a statement from AVATT.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which is responsible for marketing the vaccine abroad, said some deliveries could start in May but most would be from June.
Over 40 million vaccine doses, according to reports, have been administered in mostly wealthy countries since December 2020.
But middle- and lower-income countries are lagging far behind.
Africa seeks to vaccinate about 780 million people, representing some 60 percent of its population of 1.3 billion.
According to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), 1.5 billion doses are needed, assuming two doses per person, estimating the effort will cost some $10 billion.
‘We are grateful to receive the Sputnik V vaccines from the Russian Federation and tremendously proud to be able to offer them… for our AU member states’, Africa CDC Director John Nkengasong said in the statement.
‘Bilateral and private sector partnerships such as these are critical in our efforts to bring the Covid-19 pandemic to an end’, he added.
Chairperson of the AU, President Cyril Ramaphosa, had announced the purchase of 270 million Covid-19 vaccine doses for the continent.
The AU chief said at least 50 million of the doses will be available in the months of April to June and the rest will be delivered before the end of 2021.
The purchase agreements, according to him, were negotiated by the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team established by the African Union.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) had called for a full commitment to COVAX – the global vaccine-sharing scheme.
Speaking at a WHO executive board session, the health body’s Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said it was not fair for younger, healthy people in richer nations to get injections before vulnerable people in poorer countries.
Photo source: Africa CDC