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Zambia allocated 8.7 mln COVID-19 vaccines from African Union

LUSAKA — Zambia has been allocated 8.7 million doses of the 270 million COVID-19 vaccines secured this month by the African Union (AU), and this may rise to 25 million doses by December 2021, the Zambian mission at the AU said on Sunday.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who serves as AU chair, has said the vaccines secured by the AU will be supplied by Pfizer, AstraZeneca, through the Serum Institute of India, and Johnson & Johnson.

They will be allocated according to countries’ population size.

“If member states have to buy individually, they have to wait until July 2022, but through this mechanism, we can access the vaccines by April 2021,” Zambia’s ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the AU, Emmanuel Mwamba said in a statement.

“The vaccines will require approval from the Africa CDC and further approval from local regulatory and other approval mechanisms,” he said, referring to the AU’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

The 8.7 million doses will be the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines and Zambia’s allocation may rise to 25 million doses by December 2021 when the J&J vaccine comes on board, Mwamba added.

African countries will pay between $3 and $10 per vaccine dose to access the shots secured by the AU, according to a draft briefing on the plan prepared by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and provided to Reuters.

Ramaphosa said last week arrangements had been made with the bank to support member states which want access to vaccines.

Zambia, with a population close to 18 million, has 45,337 COVID-19 cases and 639 people have died from the disease. (Reporting by Chris Mfula Writing by Nqobile Dludla; editing by David Evans)

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