Since the beginning of this pandemic, our focus as a continent has been on cooperation and collective effort. We have adhered to the principle that no country should be left behind, Ramaphosa said in a statement.
The purchase agreements were negotiated by the African Vaccine Making Team, set up by the African Union, the statement said.
The news comes as coronavirus infections are on the rise again in parts of Africa. The continent has surpassed 3 million confirmed cases since the pandemic began, with more than 1.2 million in South Africa, where a rapidly spreading variant of the coronavirus now accounts for most of its new cases.
The purchase of 270 million doses will complement the 600 million doses expected to be made available in Africa by the COVAX initiative, a World Health Organization and the Gavi Vaccine Alliance initiative to help low- and middle-income countries secure access to vaccines.
New doses of COVAX will provide Africa with just over half of the vaccine it requires, according to the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The continent wants to vaccinate about 780 million people, representing about 60% of its population of 1.3 billion. The African CDC has said 1.5 billion doses are needed for this, assuming two doses per person, at an estimated total cost of about $ 10 billion.
Funding for individual African countries wishing to purchase vaccines will be available through the African Export-Import Bank, according to the African Union statement.
It is hoped that international donors will ensure that more vaccines are provided through COVAX, to reduce any new debt burden for African countries, the statement said.
Given the viral nature of the COVID pandemic, it is clear that a threat to one nation and continent is a threat to all, the statement said. To successfully eradicate the global threat of the disease, it is important that a majority of citizens of all nations receive urgent and equal access to COVID-19 vaccines as soon as possible.
Ramaphosa said, There is a long way to go, but while Africa is now seeing progress in our joint effort to defeat this disease.
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
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