Mastercard Foundation and Africa CDC Donates $1.3 Billion to Continent’s Vaccine Initiative

A health worker in South Africa with a vial of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters)

The Mastercard Foundation and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will deploy $1.3 billion over the next three years as part of a new initiative to acquire and deliver vaccines across the continent.

The Saving Lives and Livelihoods scheme aims to secure shots for more than 50 million people and help develop vaccine manufacturing in African countries, the organizations said in a press release Tuesday. The second wave of Covid-19 has hit Africa much harder than the first, according to analysis published in March in The Lancet medical journal.

“Ensuring equitable access and delivery of vaccines across Africa is urgent. This initiative is about valuing all lives and accelerating the economic recovery of the continent,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation.

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The announcement comes amid growing global concern over Covid-19 vaccine inequality. Many African nations have struggled with barely sufficient supplies of shots. The African Development Bank has warned that the pandemic could drive 39 million people into extreme poverty in 2021.

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SOURCE: CNN, Zamira Rahim and Stephanie Busari

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