Covax, the global program that strives to ensure equitable access to coronavirus vaccines, has allocated millions of doses of AstraZeneca Plc’s shots to African countries and aims for its first deliveries by the end of the month.
Nigeria, the most populous nation on the continent, stands to receive 16 million doses, while Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo are in line for 9 million and 7 million doses respectively, according to an interim distribution forecast published Wednesday.
Other African countries will get a smaller number of vaccines.
“We are on the path to really start balancing out a global map, which so far has shown how many lower-income countries are yet to start vaccinating a single person, while other, wealthier countries go ahead toward mass vaccination,” said Frederik Kristensen, deputy chief executive of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, which heads Covax together with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
The forecast laid out plans for the distribution of more than 300 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine and 1.2 million of Pfizer Inc.’s vaccines around the world.
Shipping of the AstraZeneca vaccines is scheduled to start late February, with most doses arriving before the end of the second quarter of the year, according to the document.
However, it is unclear if Nigeria and others have adequate arrangements for vaccine reception and distribution.
In any case, the Covax vaccine supply plans are non-binding and could change due to manufacturing or operational constraints, or a lack of preparedness by individual countries, according to the forecast.