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African Union To Get 300 Million Doses of Russia’s Sputnik V Vaccine

Feb. 22 , 2021 (EIRNS)—The African Union (AU) announced that it has received an offer from the Russia Direct Investment Fund for 300 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine, along with favorable financing terms. This would finally bring the total doses committed to Africa to 1.57 billion, which is what they need—however, the big question is how soon they can be delivered. The AU is planning to cover 60% of Africa’s 1.3 billion people, which is 780 million. Since Africa has a very high portion of its population under 16 years of age, about 40%, the 60% figure represents all of the population 16 and above.

The Sputnik V doses would start in May and be delivered over as much as a 12-month period. John Nkengasong, director of the AU’s Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) told the Feb. 18 weekly press briefing: “We are grateful to receive Sputnik V vaccines from the Russian Federation and are tremendously proud to be able to offer them... for our AU Member States. Bilateral and private sector partnerships such as these are critical in our efforts to bring the COVID-19 pandemic to an end.”

Previously, around 1.27 billion vaccines have been contracted: a) 270 million from a combination of AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson; b) 600 million doses from the WHO-connected COVAX facility by December; and c) 400 million of the AstraZeneca version from the Serum Institute of India. If there is no double-counting, the total is now around 1.57 billion. COVAX thinks they can deliver about 150 million of their doses by the end of June, along with smaller amounts from Sputnik V and the others; but the bulk of the amounts are likely to be delivered not before the end of the year. So, it is great progress that the vaccine doses in sufficient amounts have been identified for Africa, but much remains to be done.

Also, the brutal reality is that Covid vaccines to Africa are actually, primarily, a favor to the rest of the world, to help cut off the possibility of mutations. In fact, Africa needs the Covid vaccines as part of a much larger effort. Covid is fifth on the list of deaths from infectious diseases in Africa. Cholera, for example, still causes deaths on an order of magnitude higher.

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