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Africa to receive 300m doses of Russian vaccine

Monday February 22 2021
Sputnik V vaccine.

A health worker carries a box of Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine doses. PHOTO | SAID KHATIB | AFP

By ELIZABETH MERAB

Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) has received an offer of 300 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.

Director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), John Nkengasong, said the body is “tremendously proud” to offer the doses which will be available in May to the 54 member states. AVATT was set up by the African Union to acquire additional vaccine doses as Africa targets to immunise 60 percent of the population.

Meanwhile, it said that already the 270 million doses previously secured from AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson have all been taken up by the first allocation phase deadline through the African Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP).

Speaking at the weekly online press briefing, Dr Nkengasong said that about 26 countries had already submitted their application to acquire 180 million doses of the vaccines.

With these additional 300 million Sputnik V vaccines, AMSP accelerates online Covid-19 vaccines pre-orders for the 55 AU member states.

“We are grateful to receive the Sputnik V vaccines from the Russian Federation and tremendously proud to be able to offer them on the AMSP for our AU member states,” said Dr Nkengasong.

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Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine gives around 92 percent protection against Covid-19, late-stage trial results published in The Lancet revealed. The analysis also showed that the shot also offers complete protection against hospitalisation and death.

Although it was initially met with some controversy after being rolled out before the final trial data had been released, the Sputnik vaccine works in a similar way to the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab developed in the UK, and the Janssen vaccine developed in Belgium. It can be stored at temperatures of between 2 and 8C degrees (a standard fridge is roughly 3 to 5C degrees) making it easier to transport and store.

According to the statement released Friday, the vaccine will be available for a period of 12 months commencing this May. Only seven countries in Africa, among them Rwanda, South Africa and Morocco, have started vaccination.

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