The 17 African Union (AU) member states that South Africa’s 1 million AstraZeneca jabs were sold to include Zimbabwe where the 501YV2 coronavirus variant has been detected (the variant is the reason Soth Africa isn’t using the jab).
This also comes amid reports that a number of countries have banned the use of the vaccine after reports of blood clots among people who had received the jab.
The World Health Organisation (WHO), however, says there is no need to suspend the use of the vaccine since there is no evidence to substantiate the view that there is a cause-effect relationship between the vaccine and blood clotting.
Below is a statement by South Africa’s Health Minister Zwelini Mkhize that indicated the AU countries buying the AstraZeneca vaccine and the reason South Africa is not using it.
STATEMENT ON THE SALE OF ASTRAZENECA TO THE AFRICAN UNION
On 7 November 2020 His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as chair of the African Union, established the COVID-19 African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT)- a component in support of the Africa Vaccine Strategy that was endorsed by the AU Bureau of Heads of State and Government on 20th of August, 2020. This strategic initiative has seen Africa secure one billion doses of vaccines to date. This task team has been instrumental in ensuring that Africa does not get left behind as the world comes under pressure to attain population immunity against COVID-19.
Through the coordinated efforts of this task team we are pleased to confirm that, after concluding the sale of one million Astra Zeneca doses to the African Union, the first batch of these doses have been dispatched from South Africa. Although it was a difficult decision for us to halt the rollout of Astra Zeneca due to the challenges posed by the 501Y.V2 variant, it is gratifying to know that eighteen (18) member states will benefit from the AU allocation of the Astra Zeneca acquisition from South Africa. These member states are:
- Sierra Leone
- South Sudan
We applaud the AU for undertaking the task of redistributing the vaccines to the receiving member states.
As government. we are pleased to see a successful conclusion of this matter. The disposal of the vaccines has ensured a win-win solution for all. Through the sale, South Africa will not incur fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
We also welcome the contributions made by MTN-Africa, which assisted in the purchase of the stock. This is a shining example of successful private-public partnership and we call on others in the business sector to join us in the final battle against COVID-19 and make similar contributions to boost Africa’s mass vaccination campaign.
Through this initiative, governments and business have come together to turn one country’s misfortunes into blessings for others. This reflects the spirit of social solidarity that the AU Vaccine Strategy was founded upon. We wish the member states well as they rollout their respective vaccination campaigns. We are in this together.
Dr. Zwelini Mkhize Minister of Health