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African Union to purchase 110 million COVID-19 vaccine doses

The African Union (AU) has declared its plan of purchasing 110 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna Inc.

The first batch of 15 million doses will be shipped before the end of the year.

In the first quarter of next year, the second shipment of 35 million doses will be received and up to 60 million in the second quarter.

“This is important as it allows us to increase the number of vaccines available immediately,” AU coronavirus envoy Strive Masiyiwa said. “We urge other vaccine producing countries to follow the lead of the (U.S. government) and give us similar access to buy this and other vaccines.”

Masiyiwa added that the purchase marked the first time for the union to acquire vaccines not manufactured in Africa.

According to the White House’s deputy coordinator for COVID-19 response Natalie Quillian, Biden’s administration is postponing the dispatch of 33 million doses it had bought from Moderna to give the AU its “spot in line” to make a purchase.

“We are grateful to have helped negotiate this encouraging step forward between Moderna and the African Union that will significantly expand access to vaccines on the continent in the near-term,” Quillian said.

She added, “The United States, which has seen more than 700,000 people die from COVID-19, is flush with vaccines. The delayed Moderna deliveries will not have an impact on efforts to provide booster shots to already inoculated Americans.”

Meanwhile, Moderna acknowledged its plan towards building a manufacturing plant in Africa.

By Everlyne Bosibori

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