SA govt donates 2 million J&J vaccines to continent

SA govt donates 2 million J&J vaccines to continent

The South African government has pledged to donate more than 2 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines to other African countries.

Johnson & Johnson vaccine

 The agreement was signed under the African Vaccination Acquisition Trust (AVAT) established late last year to secure vaccines for at least 60% of the continent’s population.  

The consignment, worth over R288 million, will be produced at the Aspen plant in Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape and made available over the next year.  

“This donation embodies South Africa’s solidarity with our brothers and sisters on the continent with whom we are united in fighting an unprecedented threat to public health and economic prosperity,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa in a statement.  

“The only way in which we can prevent COVID-19 transmission and protect economies and societies on our continent is to successfully immunise a critical mass of the African population with safe and effective vaccines.” 

The African Union Special Envoy Strive Masiyiwa hailed the move as a “generous contribution”.  

READ: 24 000 new Covid-19 cases in SA, 36 deaths

“As AVAT we have already received and distributed over 100 million doses of donated vaccines, most of which came as a result of President Ramaphosa’s tireless efforts with the richest nations like the United States, EU, and France,” said Masiyiwa.  

“In addition, AVAT has entered into the direct purchase of over 500 million doses, mostly produced in South Africa.”

The pledge by the South African government comes amid a fresh wave of Covid-19 infections, largely driven by the Omicron variant. 

The continent is also still faced with low vaccination rates, owing to a shortage in supply in some parts and vaccine hesitancy in others. 

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