AU allocates Zambia 8.7 mln doses of COVID-19 vaccines

25Jan 2021
Lusaka
The Guardian
AU allocates Zambia 8.7 mln doses of COVID-19 vaccines

THE African Union (AU) has allocated Zambia 8.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines under an initiative the African body was pioneering, a government official said yesterday.

The COVID-19 African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) has been created by the continental body in August 2020 to ensure that the African continent will be able to secure sufficient vaccine doses to achieve herd immunity.

Zambia's Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the AU Emmanuel Mwamba said the country's allocation may rise to 25 million doses by December 2021.

He said in a release that the initiative has been mandated to secure the necessary vaccines and blend financing resources for achieving Africa's COVID-19 vaccination strategy which targets vaccinating a minimum of 60 percent of Africa's population.

Under the initiative, the vaccines were being sourced from Pfizer and AstraZeneca, he added.

According to him, a financing facility has been created under the AVATT, the Advance Procurement Commitment (APC) facility to be backed by the African Import and Export Bank.

The mechanism will also ensure a timely, equitable and cost-effective availability of COVID-19 vaccine supplies within the African continent and by so doing, mitigate the protracted financial and socio-economic costs of the pandemic.

The vaccine doses, which are in addition to the expected COVAX doses, will be distributed through the African Medical Supplies.  Zambia has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases during the second wave of the pandemic.

In the last 24 hours, the country recorded 745 new cases out of 7,903 tests done, according to health ministry figures.

This brings the cumulative cases to 45,337 while 1,667 passengers were discharged during the same period bringing the total recoveries to 35,960.

The country, however recorded 12 new deaths during the same period bringing the total deaths to 639 while active cases currently stand at 8,738.

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