UNICEF said Thursday it has signed a deal to provide up to 220 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to African Union member states by the end of 2022.
The child humanitarian group announced in a statement the agreement was reached with Belgium-based and J&J-owned Janssen Pharmaceutica NV.
An additional 35 million doses of the single-dose vaccine could be delivered to the African Union’s 55-member states by the end of this year and another 180 million doses could be ordered by year’s end, UNICEF said.
“African countries must have affordable and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines as soon as possible. Vaccine access has been unequal and unfair, with less than 1 per cent of the population of the African continent currently vaccinated against COVID-19. This cannot continue,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “UNICEF, with its long history of delivering vaccines all around the world, is supporting global COVID-19 vaccination efforts through AVAT, COVAX, and other channels to maximize supply and access to vaccines.”
The J&J vaccine received emergency approval from the World Health Organization in March.