By Asmau Ahmad
Pharmaceutical and biotechnology firm, AstraZeneca, has said it is committed to expanding and accelerating vaccine supply to the African region through 2022 and beyond to help governments reach their vaccination targets.
The firm, in a statement on Tuesday, said, an estimated 70 million doses have reached sub-Saharan Africa, making the AstraZeneca vaccine one of the most used COVID-19 vaccines across the continent.
The statement read, “One year ago, the first doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine began to arrive in countries across the world through the COVAX initiative, as part of the largest global vaccination drive in history.
“On 24 February 2021, 600,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine were received by health authorities in Ghana. Within days, the Ivory Coast received 504,000 doses. Since then, more than 310 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine have been delivered through COVAX to 130 countries.”
The Country President for Africa, AstraZeneca, Barbara Nel, in the statement, said, “As part of our commitment to putting broad and equitable access at the heart of our pandemic response, AstraZeneca was proud to be the first global pharmaceutical company to join COVAX in 2020.
“Our strong partnerships with the Serum Institute of India, GAVI – the Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organisation are vital to delivering on our commitment to supply Africa with the COVID-19 vaccine at no profit. We commend the work being done by governments across the continent to increase immunisation coverage and protect their citizens from severe disease.
“The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has helped prevent 50 million COVID-19 cases and five million hospitalisations, helping save more than one million lives.”