3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses set aside for Zimbabwe

  • Afreximbank to unveil up to US$2 billion for vaccine procurement efforts
  • World Bank a further US$5 billion
  • Zimbabwe will need over US$20 million for the procurement of the first batch of vaccines

The African Vaccine Acquisition Task team (AVATT) under The African Union (AU) has secured a provision of 270 million COVID-19 vaccine doses through a partnership with the African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the World Bank meant to supplement the COVAX programme, said African Union Chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa in an address on Wednesday.

Afreximbank is set to provide advance commitment procurement guarantees of up US$2 billion to vaccine developers Pfizer and AstraZeneca, through the Serum Institute of India, and Johnson & Johnson upon the receipt of firm orders from AU member nations, President Ramaphosa indicated.

“There is also close collaboration between the AU team and the World Bank to ensure that member states are able to access about $5 billion either to buy more vaccines or pay for delivery of vaccines committed on their behalf by Afreximbank,” Ramaphosa added.

The COVAX facility is aiming to make available 2 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2021 of which Ramaphosa in another address to his own nation said that Africa needed only 1.5 billion doses to immunize the target of 60% of the African population.

COVAX, which was set up by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in April 2020 brings together governments, global health organisations, manufacturers, scientists, private sector, civil society and philanthropy, with the aim of providing innovative and equitable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments and vaccines to where they are most needed in the most effective manner.

Of the 270 million doses, based on the population, Zimbabwe is set to receive over 3 million doses of the vaccines for which the country will have to part away with over US$20 million according to the Afreximbank. This deduces the cost per dose to US$7, which compares more favourably to Pfizer’s US$10 per shot offer to South Africa. Other private pharmaceuticals in Europe and US are retailing a dosage of their vaccines at averages upward of US$25.

Zimbabwe will require at least 10 million does to achieve herd immunity. 10 million deduces to about 62% of the total population. At an average price of US$10 per shot of vaccine, the country will need at US$100 million for acquisition of the drugs. We expect a further US$50 million cost to cover transport and distribution logistics.

The costs in Zimdollar terms equates to about ZWL$13 billion or 3% of the national budget. For perspective the total estimate cost for procurement and distribution would cover 7 months’ worth of the country’s fuel demand.

The total vaccination effort in Africa is set to cost the continent at least US$10 billion.

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