Johnson & Johnson announced Monday subsidiary Janssen has entered into an agreement with the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust to make available up to 220 million doses of its one-shot coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine.
The company said delivery of the vaccine to the African Union’s (AU) 55 member-states will begin in the third quarter of this year, if the shot is granted approval by the various national regulatory authorities.
The vaccine has already received approval in the United States and other countries.
“From the beginning of this pandemic, Johnson & Johnson has recognized that no one is safe until everyone is safe, and we have been committed to equitable, global access to new COVID-19 vaccines,” Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky said in a statement.
An additional 180 million doses will also potentially be available to AU member states through 2022, the company said.
The agreement was made months after Johnson & Johnson entered an agreement in principle in December with Gavi to supply its COVAX Facility – the World Health Organization-led plan to provide worldwide equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines – with up to 500 million doses through 2022.
The company said Monday that both sides expect to enter a finalized agreement, though no date or timeline was given.
“Our support for the COVAX Facility, combined with countries and regions, will help accelerate global progress toward ending the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gorsky said.
According to Oxford University, Africa has administered far fewer shots per 100 people than all other continents aside from Antarctica, for which the project did not provide data. North America led with nearly 26 doses administered per 100 people, compared to Africa at 0.74 doses.
The WHO has repeatedly called on rich nations to join its COVAX plan, share their extra doses and not fall into vaccine nationalism. SOVEREIGNPH