France will send 10 million doses of AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech’s corona vaccines to Africa over the next three months through a partnership with the African Union. The Elysée announced this on Monday.
The partnership between Paris and the African Union stipulates that those doses will be allocated and distributed under the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT), the fund that ensures access to corona vaccines in the African continent, and COVAX.
This mechanism works for worldwide access to corona vaccines. Both initiatives aim to help Africa catch up with developed countries in terms of vaccination campaigns.
“The pandemic can only be overcome through intense cooperation between multilateral, regional, and national actors,” French President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement.
“I wish that we can act together, leveraging the know-how and political legitimacy of African leaders and building on our strong partnership with the African Union,” the French president added.
“The Apartheid of Vaccines”
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, in turn, called the French gift “a powerful and welcome gesture of human solidarity and political cooperation, at a time when the world needs it most”.
At a meeting with President Macron in May devoted to the issue, the South African president denounced “apartheid of vaccines” and lamented that some countries receive an “unlimited” number of vaccines, while very few Africans are protected.
Working as a group buy, AVAT allows African Union members to collect enough vaccines to meet at least half of their needs. AVAT complements COVAX, which aims to provide the other half through donations.
According to the Elysée, enough corona vaccines have already been purchased under AVAT to enable African countries, from now until September next year, to vaccinate 400 million people – a third of Africa’s population – at the price of three billion dollars.