Zimbabwe is set to get over three million doses of vaccines at a cost of US$25 million from the 270 million jabs available to the African continent.

The vaccines will cover 15 percent of Zimbabwe’s population.

Like all countries, Zimbabwe, has to inform the Afreximbank within two weeks if it wants the vaccines, otherwise they will be reallocated.

The vaccines are being sourced by the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Force set up by African Union chairman and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. They will complement the vaccines secured via Covax, the globally-pooled vaccine procurement and distribution effort, which has clinched agreements to secure two billion doses.

Every African country has an allocation based on its population size and Zimbabwe’s share is about three million. It is expected that the country will pay the almost US$25 million through drawing down from a facility at Afreximbank, payable over five years.

The Herald understands shipments of the vaccines will begin in March and all of them will be delivered this year, with 50 million vaccine doses supplied between April and June.

The vaccines being secured are the same as those being used in Europe and America such as Pfizer and AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

President Ramaphosa told a special African Union meeting on Wednesday that from the onset of the pandemic, “our focus as a continent has been on collaboration and collective effort”.

“We have held steadfastly to the principle that no country should be left behind. As a result of our own efforts, we have so far secured a commitment of a provisional amount of 270 million vaccines from three major suppliers: Pfizer, AstraZeneca (through Serum Institute of India) and Johnson & Johnson,” he said.

In an interview last night, Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Dr John Mangwiro referred questions to Covid-19 Chief Coordinator Dr Agnes Mahomva, who he said was responsible for issues related to vaccines.

Contacted for comment, Dr Mahomva said: “I will have to check and see; they were working on getting vaccines for the African region but I don’t have the latest information on that.”

Dr Mangwiro recently said Zimbabwe could receive its first batch of the Covid-19 vaccine in February.

He said the Government is finalising the deployment plan and training of healthcare workers who will administer the vaccine.

Dr Mangwiro said Zimbabwe was preparing to take delivery of the vaccine, procured under a global ground-breaking initiative led by the World Health Organisation, known as Covax, which plans to secure and distribute billions of doses to African countries, once licensed and approved.

Under the initiative, two billion doses of the vaccines have been secured, and will be distributed equitably to all participating nations from month end. WHO recently said most African countries will start taking delivery of the vaccine from end of this month to mid-February.