First COVID-19 vaccine doses donated by EU begin arriving in Africa

In this photo illustration a Johnson & Johnson logo is seen in front of a medical syringe and a vial with coronavirus vaccine. Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

The first of nearly 100 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine being donated by the European Union by year-end have begun arriving in African countries, a statement by the GAVI vaccine alliance said on Monday.

Belgium negotiated the deal as part of the bloc’s overall pledge to share at least 500 million doses with low and lower-middle-income countries by mid-2022, the Geneva-based group, which leads the COVAX initiative, said in a statement.

“The first doses have reached Niger, with more doses arriving in a number of countries this week,” Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission president, said in the statement that also listed Guinea Conakry, Mauritania, the Central African Republic, Djibouti, Nigeria, Togo and the Republic of Congo.