Afreximbank ready to raise up to $5 bln for COVID-19 vaccines for Africa: CDC head

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A vaccine volunteer receives an injection at the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital in Soweto, Johannesburg Wednesday, June 24, 2020. Africa’s first participation in a COVID-19 vaccine trial has begun as volunteers received injections developed at the University of Oxford in Britain. /AP
A vaccine volunteer receives an injection at the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital in Soweto, Johannesburg Wednesday, June 24, 2020. Africa’s first participation in a COVID-19 vaccine trial has begun as volunteers received injections developed at the University of Oxford in Britain. /AP

The African Export Import Bank is ready to raise up to $5 billion to purchase COVID-19 vaccines for African countries, the head of the continent’s disease control body told Reuters on Thursday.

John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said Africa needs to be pro-active in the race to secure vaccines for the novel coronavirus that has infected more than 41 million people globally.

COVAX, a global COVID-19 vaccine allocation plan co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO), will only be able to secure shots for less than 1

0% of the continent’s population of 1.29 billion, he said.

Western nations are spending billions to shore up supplies of potential inoculations.

Last month the European Commission reached agreements with drugmakers AstraZeneca AZN.L, Sanofi SASY.PA and GSK GSK.L to buy up to 700 million doses.

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