Around six million doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine will be delivered by the African Union to 27 African nations that have paid for the shipments through the end of August. AU coronavirus envoy Strive Masiyiwa said 18 countries are finalizing loans from the World Bank and other global lenders before they make payment.
Deliveries will rise to an average of 10 million a month from September, increasing to 20 million in January until the order is fulfilled by September next year. Global pharmaceutical firms should license production of COVID-19 vaccines in Africa rather than just do piecemeal contract deals, Masiyiwa said while speaking a day after Pfizer and BioNTech announced a "fill and finish" deal with South Africa's Biovac Institute under which it will carry out the final stages of vaccine manufacturing where the product is processed and put into vials.
Pfizer and BioNTech will handle drug substance production at their facilities in Europe. Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has called the arrangement "restrictive" and said much more is needed to support vaccine independence in Africa.