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World Bank backs acquisition of 158,400 single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines in Cameroon

World Bank backs acquisition of 158,400 single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines in Cameroon
  • Comments   -   Monday, 09 August 2021 16:58

(Business in Cameroon) - 158,000 doses of single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine were delivered to Cameroon on August 8, 2021, the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) reveals.

"Funds were raised from the World Bank to ensure an affordable and fair access to Covid-19 vaccines as well as contribute to an efficient rollout in Cameroon,"   the AVAT reveals without further details. So, there is no information on the value of the 158,000 doses nor on the World Bank’s contribution for those purchases.

The fund nevertheless adds that the World Bank will further support vaccine purchase and deployment in Cameroon in the framework of the pandemic response strategy, which is part of the Covid-19 Preparedness and Response Project (a project aimed at curbing the spread of the pandemic and maintaining an equitable delivery of essential health services).

According to official figures, since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the World Bank has disbursed over US$157 billion to fight the economic, social, and health impacts of the pandemic. Thanks to the funds, over 100 countries have enhanced their preparedness for the pandemic by boosting their capacities to support the poor and jobs as well as initiate a climate-friendly recovery.

The financial institution also supports over 50 low and middle-income countries (half of which are located in Africa) for the purchase and deployment of Covid-19 vaccines. It even dedicated US$20 billion to fund this goal till end 2022.

The vaccines received by Cameroon are delivered in the framework of the procurement agreement signed on March 28, 2021, by the AVAT for the acquisition of 220 million doses of single-shot Covid-19 vaccines, with the possibility to purchase an additional 180 million doses (making it a total of 400 million doses).

"This 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 the AU Member States have collectively purchased vaccines to safeguard the health of the African population - 400m vaccines are sufficient to immunize a third of the African people and bring Africa halfway towards its continental goal of vaccinating at least 60 percent of the population," the AVAT comments.  

Single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccines are less effective against the Delta variant  

Cameroon had already received 303,050 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Those vaccines were donated by the USA, in the framework of the COVAX facility, for efficient and equitable access to vaccines in developing countries.

The vaccines arrive in Cameroon in a context marked by fears of the resurgence of the pandemic due to the more virulent delta variant, which is already present in several African countries. The vaccines may not be enough to protect the population against the variant, however. According to the preliminary findings of a recent US study, the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccines may be less effective against the said variant.

Sylvain Andzongo

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