AU says Russia offers 300 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine

The African Union’s (AU) vaccine task team announced on Friday that Russia had given it 300 million doses of its Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine along with a financing package for nations wanting to secure the shots.

The Russian vaccine will be available starting in May 2021 for a period of 12 months, it said in a statement. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which is responsible for the overseas marketing of the vaccine, said some deliveries could begin in May, but the majority would start in June.

According to Reuters, the 55-member AU hopes to see 60 percent of the 1.3 billion people on the continent immunized over the next three years or so. But even as some wealthier nations are well into their immunization campaigns, vaccination programmes have begun to be implemented by just a handful of countries in Africa.

“We are grateful to receive the Sputnik V vaccines from the Russian Federation and tremendously proud to be able to offer them… for our AU Member States,” John Nkengasong, director of the AU’s disease control body, revealed in the statement.

“Bilateral and private sector partnerships such as these are critical in our efforts to bring the COVID-19 pandemic to an end,” Nkengasong reiterated.

The AU said earlier that this year it had secured 270 million doses of vaccines for delivery from AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.

The vaccine team said on Friday that all 270 million doses had been taken “taken up by the first allocation phase deadline”

Russia has globally marketed the Sputnik V vaccine. It has reached production deals with companies in India, South Korea and Brazil and has committed to supplying doses to countries such as Venezuela and Hungary.

If offered in full, the bid to the AU will be amongst its largest international supply deals to date.

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