World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, says COVAX is a ground-breaking global initiative that will include African countries and ensure they are not left at the back of the queue for COVID-19 vaccines.

This comes as African countries are signing up to a ground-breaking initiative, which aims to secure at least 220 million doses of the vaccine for the continent, once licensed and approved.

All 54 countries on the continent have expressed interest in COVAX, a global initiative which is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) and the WHO.

In a statement, Moeti says, “By reaching beyond the continent to work together with other governments and manufacturers on a global scale and pooling buying power, countries can protect the people most vulnerable to the disease in Africa.”

The partners are working with governments and manufacturers to procure enough vaccine doses to protect the most vulnerable populations on the continent.

Through the Gavi-coordinated COVAX Facility, the initiative seeks to ensure access for all, both higher and middle-income countries which will self-finance their own participation, and lower-middle income and low-income countries which will have their participation supported by the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).

There are eight countries in Africa that have agreed to self-finance their vaccine doses through the COVAX Facility.

This expression of interest will turn into binding commitments to join the initiative by 18 September, with upfront payments to follow no later than 9 October 2020.

Below is the full statement:

In the Tweet below, WHO Program Area Manager, Immunization and Vaccine Development Dr Richard Mihigo speaks about the COVAX and  its significance for access to a potential COVID-19 vaccine for African countries.