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J&J to supply African Union with up to 400 million COVID-19 vaccine doses

Johnson & Johnson will supply the African Union (AU) with up to 400 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine beginning in the third quarter, the drugmaker said on Monday, as the continent grapples with vaccinating 60 per cent of its people.

J&J unit Janssen Pharmaceutica NV has entered into a deal with the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) to deliver 220 million doses of its single-dose shot.

AVAT could order an additional 180 million doses through 2022.

The deal follows months of negotiations with the AU, which announced a provisional agreement in January to buy 270 million doses of vaccines from J&J, AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech.

The status of the talks with the other two companies is not known.

J&J’s vaccine came to the market much later than those of AstraZeneca and Pfizer but has recently gained widespread acceptance globally, especially in Africa.

“J&J requires just a single dose, it makes it very good programmatically to rollout,” said John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

He said the price of the J&J’s dose is likely to be US$10.

In February, South Africa put use of AstraZeneca’s shot on hold after data showed it gave minimal protection against mild-to-moderate infection caused by the country’s dominant variant.

Several countries in Europe have suspended using AstraZeneca’s vaccine as they investigate a small number of reports of rare blood clotting in people who got the vaccine. Global regulators have said the shot is safe and effective.

Source: Further Africa

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