The African Union (AU) recently announced that it has provisionally secured 270 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines for all its 55 member states through its African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (Avatt).
The plans by the AU come at a time when Tanzania has chosen a different path after President John Magufuli on Wednesday cautioned against foreign vaccines.
He warned the Health ministry against rushing to procure Covid-19 vaccines being promoted by foreign nations.
The remark came at a time calls were being made to Tanzanians to remain vigilant and protect themselves against a second wave of coronavirus infections.
On Tuesday, the Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC) issued a statement urging Roman Catholic faithfuls to protect themselves against the virus, including resorting to prayers, social distancing, hand washing and sanitising.
The letter headlined, “Caution against new coronavirus infections”, said with a number of countries reporting new infections which have resulted in thousands of deaths, it was important to remember that Tanzania was not an island.
“Our country is not an island. We have every reason to take precautions, and pray to God so that we can emerge unscathed from this pandemic,” the letter reads in part.
President Magufuli’s remarks came at a time when the African Union (AU) and individual countries on the continent were in the process of securing vaccines.
Already, the Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP) has pressed the pre-order of the vaccines on behalf of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) with the African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim- bank) expected to provide $2 million in advance payments to manufacturers.
South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia are some of the countries on the continent that were at various stages of ordering and administering Covid-19 vaccinations on their populations.
South Africa expects 1.5 million vaccine doses from India between January and February, and the country is ready to pay $5.25 (4.32 euros) per dose, which is nearly 2.5 times the amount paid by most EU countries.
Nigeria expects 10 million doses in March, although the type of vaccine that the country has procured could not be established immediately.
Kenya reported last week that it had ordered 24 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is expected to arrive in the second week of February, with Tunisia expected to receive 6 million doses.
On Monday, Morocco said it was rolling out and distributing the AstraZeneca vaccine received last Friday from India ahead of a vaccination campaign slated to commence this week.
— The Citizen.