ADDIS ABABA – The African Union (AU) on Friday said it has secured 12,000 doses of the Johnson and Johnson single-shot COVID-19 vaccine for its staffs and their dependents.
The vaccines purchased through the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) for the African Union.
The vaccines were handed over to the African Union’s Medical Health Services Directorate (MHSD) on Friday after their arrival on Wednesday.
The vaccines, partly manufactured in South Africa, were imported with the support of the government of Ethiopia, it says.
“Being able to offer vaccines to all AU Commission and AU Embassy staff and their dependents is also an important step in securing the AU’s business continuity,” says the pan African bloc in a statement.
The AU MHSD is responsible for administering the vaccines.
The statement says the vaccination for AU staff members started immediately after the handover.
AUC Deputy Chairperson, Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa, said that, to date, only 25.5% of the AU Commission and the community of the AU member states based in Addis Ababa are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“This figure is far below where we need to be, in order to be near normalcy and return to work,” she said. “It is therefore pertinent that all staff and supervisors should encourage colleagues to get vaccinated as this is the only way for us to return to our previous working environment”.
As of Friday, 1,500 individuals have been vaccinated from the AU and diplomatic community in Addis Ababa.
The AU Commission recently received a donation of 15,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine from China.
“Today, we are lucky to receive 12,000 doses of J and J from the Africa CDC, thus creating a wide choice of vaccines for the community we serve,” said Dr. Naftal Kilenga, the Acting Director for AU Medical and Health Services.
“Our community has no reason not to vaccinate,” said Dr. Kilenga. “Over time, we will overcome this pandemic and go back to our normal working environment”.