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COVID-19 shots to cost between Ksh.330 to Ksh.1100

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African countries will pay between Ksh.330 ($3) and Ksh.1100 ($10) per vaccine dose to access 270 million COVID-19 shots secured this month by the African Union (AU).

This is according to a draft briefing on the plan prepared by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and provided to Reuters.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who serves as AU chair, said last week arrangements had been made with the bank to support member states who want access to vaccines. Countries can pay back the loans in instalments over five to seven years, the document showed.

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Afreximbank’s press office declined to answer questions on the terms outlined in the briefing.

COVID-19 shots to cost between Ksh.330 to Ksh.1100.

The office said the document was in draft form and meant for confidential discussion by members of a team created by Ramaphosa to secure vaccines and financing for the continent’s coronavirus immunization programs. The AU team also declined to comment.

The document, which was shared with Reuters by two sources, provides the first public details on the prices manufacturers are offering African nations outside of the COVAX global vaccine sharing scheme led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the GAVI vaccine alliance.

Although the prices are heavily discounted compared to what wealthier nations are paying, some experts worry about countries already struggling to manage the economic fallout of the pandemic having to borrow more money to protect their people.

“No country should have to take on debt to pay for the vaccine,” said Tim Jones, head of policy at the Jubilee Debt Campaign, a British charity working to end poverty.

The companies supplying shots Pfizer Inc, Johnson & Johnson and the Serum Institute of India did not immediately respond to requests for comment. AstraZeneca, whose shots Serum will provide, declined to comment.

John Nkengasong, who heads the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said the prices were comparable to those available through COVAX.

“My thinking is that the vaccines market will open up in the coming months, when for example Johnson & Johnson and others land on the market,” Nkengasong told Reuters. “For now, what is critical is access to the market, secure quantities and start vaccinating.”

As richer nations race ahead with mass vaccination campaigns, Africa is still scrambling to secure supplies as it grapples with a second wave of infections and concerns about more-infectious variants of the virus first identified in South Africa and Britain.

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More than 3.3 million COVID-19 cases and over 80,000 deaths have been recorded on the continent to date, according to a Reuters tally.

The AU is concerned that vaccine supplies to be released through COVAX in the first half of the year may not extend beyond the needs of frontline healthcare workers.

COVAX is due to start rolling out vaccines to poor and middle-income countries in February, with about 600 million doses earmarked for Africa this year.

Doses secured by the AU that will supplement that supply are due to start arriving in March

Source: Citizen TV

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