Mbabane: African countries will pay between US$3 (E45) and $10 (E150) per vaccine dose to access 270 million Covid-19 shots secured this month by the African Union (AU), according to a draft briefing on the plan prepared by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and provided to Reuters.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who also serves as AU chair, said a couple of days ago, arrangements had been made with the bank to support member states who want access to vaccines. Countries can pay back the loans in instalments over five to seven years, the document showed.
On Monday, January 25, SABC News reported that Zambia has allocated 8.7 million COVID-19 vaccines from AU. The 8.7 million doses will be the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines. According to SABC news, the doses secured by Zambia may rise to 25 million doses by December 2021.
Speaking to Independent News in an exclusive interview, Eswatini Minister of Health Lizzie Nkosi highlighted that the African union has purchased 270 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer, AstraZeneca through the Serum Institute of India, and Johnson & Johnson to complement the 600 million doses expected to be made available to the continent by the COVAX facility. She said discussions on distribution of these doses across the African countries are still ongoing.
“You will recall that the continent seeks to vaccinate about 780 million people, representing some 60% of the continent’s population of 1.3 billion. The Africa CDC has said 1.5 billion doses are needed for that, assuming two doses per person, at an estimated total cost of some $10 billion. The doses currently availed to the continent do not meet the required need,” said the Minister when responding to questions by this reporter.
On another note, the Minister disclosed why the country selected the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“We have chosen the AstraZeneca vaccine as its profile fits with other vaccines we provide to children thus providing us with the required cold-chain infrastructure in-country along with trained personnel for its delivery nationwide,” said the Minister.
She said in addition to being part of the COVAX facility, the Kingdom of Eswatini is pursuing direct procurement with preferred vaccine manufacturers. She said these discussions are ongoing and are at an advanced stage and the final outcome will be communicated with the nation once finalized.
Meanwhile, on January 3, Acting Prime Minister Themba Nhlanganiso Masuku reported that the country has set aside a sum of E200 million to secure the COVID-19 vaccine.
As of January 24, the COVID-19 scourge has claimed 479 lives and infected 14 484 people in the country. This stats includes the late Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini, Minister of Public Service Christian Ntshangase, Minister of Labour and Social Security Makhosi Vilakati, prominent Bishop Stephen Masilela, to mention but a few.