Johnson & Johnson will supply the African Union (AU) with up to 400 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine beginning in the third quarter, the drugmaker said on Monday, as the continent grapples with vaccinating 60% of its people.
The virus has killed almost 121,000 people across Africa and infected 4.18 million.
J&J unit Janssen Pharmaceutica NV has entered into a deal with the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) to deliver 220 million doses of its single-dose shot.
AVAT could order an additional 180 million doses through 2022.(refini.tv/3cyeFiB)
The deal follows months of negotiations with the AU, which announced a provisional agreement in January to buy 270 million doses of vaccines from J&J, AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech.
The status of the talks with the other two companies is not known.
J&J’s vaccine came to the market much later than those of AstraZeneca and Pfizer but has recently gained widespread acceptance globally, especially in Africa.
“J&J requires just a single dose, it makes it a very good programmatically to rollout,” said John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.