Yaounde, 9 August 2021 (ECA) - Cameroonian health authorities on Sunday 8 August 2021 received 158,400 doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-shot COVID-19 vaccine as the first consignment supplied by the AU / African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) in collaboration with the Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP), at the Yaounde Nsimalen International Airport.
The African Union’s Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) are participating in these initiatives, with the support of leading African and international Institutions, foundations, corporations as well as the governments of China, Canada and France.
“For months we've been meeting with African Ministers of Finance, Economy Health and other stakeholders to underscore the importance of facilitating access to vaccines to end global vaccine inequality,” said ECA’s Director for Central Africa – Antonio Pedro.
“This calls for celebration as we’ve reached a milestone in the acquisition of vaccines manufactured in Africa [South Africa] for Africans!”
Pedro congratulated Cameroon on being at the fore of the initiative, stating that it symbolised the country’s resolve to move towards herd immunity.
He warned that Cameroonians must maintain the momentum in acquiring and administering vaccines as the surest way of ending a double Jeopardy posed to both their health and economy.
Also at the airport to receive the consignment was the Permanent Secretary in Cameroon’s Ministry of Health – Prof Louis Njock who saluted intra-African cooperation in the AVAT initiative, stating that the country aims to acquire 5.3 million doses of the Johnson and Johnson shot altogether in the near future.
Dr Mohammed Abdulaziz, who represented Africa CDC said it was a proud and historic moment for Africa but implored Cameroonian authorities to ensure the “vaccines go into the arms of those who need it the most”.
The Chargé d’affaires, ad interim, of the United States’ Embassy to Cameroon – Mary Daschbach reminded all that vaccines save lives, saying the Johnson and Johnson consignment should be administered with confidence.
Meanwhile Afreximbank’s Assistant Manager for Administration in Charge of Francophone West and Central Africa Mr. Kouakou Alphonse Kangah re-echoed his institution’s resolve to keep working with its African and external partners to procure vaccines to protect lives and livelihoods.
It would be recalled that President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, who is also the African Union’s COVID-19 Champion, announced the start of monthly shipments of vaccines acquired by AVAT to AU Member States on 5 August 2021.
A total of 6.4m doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is being shipped across Africa this August. The figure is expected to have reached 50 million by the end of the 2021. By January 2022 supplies will be ramped up to surpass 25 million per month.
AVAT partners selected the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for this pooled procurement for three reasons: first, as a single-shot vaccine, it is easier and cheaper to administer; second, the vaccine has a long shelf-life and withstands storage conditions which others don’t; and third, it is partly manufactured on the African continent, with fill-finish activities taking place in South Africa.
Abel Akara Ticha - Communication Officer
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
637, rue 3.069, Quartier du Lac, Yaounde, Cameroon
Tel: +237 222504348