EU to return Johnson & Johnson vaccines made in Africa

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European Union has agreed to transfer millions of coronavirus vaccine doses created in South Africa back to the continent, African Union delegate, Strive Masiyiwa noted.

Strive Masiyiwa told reporters at an online briefing that South Africa’s Aspen Pharmacare, which produces the Johnson & Johnson vaccine under a deal with the US pharma giant, will also halt exporting doses to Europe.

Africa has been struggling to immunize its people against Covid-19, mainly due to a paucity of supplies and widespread vaccination apprehension.

“All of the vaccines produced at Aspen will stay in Africa and be disseminated to Africa,” the African Union’s special Covid ambassador said, adding that Aspen’s agreement to exempt African countries from paying for vaccines was a win-win situation.

“This problem has been resolved, and it has been resolved in a really constructive way.”

According to him, the announcement came after a meeting between South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen in Berlin, and the first deliveries are due this month.

“Moreover, the Europeans have pledged to provide us with 200 million doses by the end of December,” Masiyiwa said at the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention briefing.

At the same press conference, Africa CDC Director John Nkengasong stated that roughly 2.93 percent of people on the continent have been fully immunised against coronavirus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) released a report on Thursday.

Also on Thursday, the World Health Organization warned that most African countries were likely to miss the “crucial” goal of vaccinating the most vulnerable 10 percent of their populations against Covid-19 by the end of the month.

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