The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), which facilitated the procurement of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Janssen Pharmaceuticals’ vaccine, says the vaccine costs Nigeria $7.50 as against $10 per dose.
The bank’s Regional Chief Operating officer, Mr Abdoulaye Kone, who disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Thursday, in Abuja, said that the country would be procuring about 29,850,000 doses, through the African Union’s African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT).
Following the receipt of the shipment of 177,600 doses on Thursday, Nigeria becomes one of the earliest beneficiaries of the supply deal agreed in March, 2021 to procure 220 million doses for the continent, with the potential to order another 180 million.
The single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine made by J&J is highly effective in preventing severe illness and death from the Delta and Beta variants of the coronavirus, data from a clinical trial in South Africa indicated.
Kone said that with the first shipment of 177, 600 doses of the J&J single dose vaccines, Nigeria would be receiving its over 2 million vaccines doses in batches.
“In August a total of 1, 173 132 doses of J&J first batch of 176 000 doses and second batch 997 132 doses. Then deliveries will continue every month.
“Afreximbank is delighted to be a part of this successful breakthrough in Africa. This was also possible through our partners – Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP), AVAT, Africa Center for Disease Control & Prevention, and the AU for their invaluable contribution to achieving this milestone,” he stated.
He disclosed that the J & J vaccines rollout began in August 2021, with Togo being the first African country to receive the shipment from the Africa Union AVAT initiative on Aug. 5.
“The vaccines have been received in Cairo, Egypt, Lesotho, Angola, Mauritius, Ghana and now, Nigeria. The target is to deliver almost 50 million vaccines before the end of December, 2021.
“By January, 2022, the number of vaccines being released will be in excess of 25m per month,” he explained.
Kone said that this would be done in collaboration with the AMSP and UNICEF, who were providing logistics and delivery services to the member States.
“The vaccine acquisition is a unique milestone for the African continent. It is the first time Africa has undertaken a procurement of this magnitude involving all member States.
“It also marks the first time that AU member States have collectively purchased vaccines to safeguard the health of the African population – 400m vaccines are sufficient to immunise a third of the African people and bring Africa halfway towards its continental goal of vaccinating at least 60 per cent of the population.
“International donors have committed to deliver the remaining half of the doses required, through the COVAX initiative.
“It is significant that these vaccines are being produced on the African continent at the Aspen Pharmacare facility in Gqeberha, South Africa.
“This is part of the concerted effort by African countries to rally the world to support the TRIPS waiver for technology transfer and active pharmaceutical ingredients to develop our own manufacturing capabilities,” he explained.
“The very low access to vaccines has exposed Africa to a devastating third and fourth waves of COVID-19. Death rates are rising and economies are becoming increasingly vulnerable.
”We are encouraged by the successful commencement of this vaccine roll-out, which will help contain the spread of the virus and protect lives and livelihood.
”Afreximbank is pleased to have contributed in the historic procurement of vaccines by AVAT. We look forward to better days ahead for our people through this effort,” Kone quoted Prof. Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Afreximbank, as saying.
Kone commended the Federal Government for its involvement and willingness to have its citizens vaccinated and implored Nigerians to cooperate with the NPHCDA and all government approved healthcare centres and partners, to get themselves and their families vaccinated.
NAN reports that the AVAT was established by the African COVID-19 Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, set up in November 2020 under the AU chairmanship of President Cyril Ramaphosa of the Republic of South Africa.
It is part of the AU’s COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Access Strategy, with its goal of vaccinating at least 60 per cent of the African population with safe and efficacious vaccines against COVID-19.
The agreement with J &J was made possible through a USD 2 billion facility provided by Afreximbank, who are also the Financial and Transaction Advisers, guarantors, instalmental payment advisers and payment Agents.
Support was provided by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) which coordinated the alignment of the AU Ministers of Finance on the financing arrangements.