J&J unit Janssen Pharmaceuticals NV has entered into a deal with the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) to deliver 220 million doses of its single-dose shot. AVAT could order an additional 180 million doses through 2022.
Reuters reports that the deal comes after months of negotiations with the African Union (AU) which announced a provisional agreement in January to buy 270 million doses of vaccines from 3 drug makers: J&J, AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech. The status of the talks with the other two companies is not known.
AVAT said on Monday many countries out of the 55 AU member states showed strong preference for J&J.
The supplies will help the continent reach its target of vaccinating at least 750 million people, or 60% of the population, as it tries to contain the spread of the virus which has killed almost 121,000 people and infected 4.18 million on the region.
As part of the AU vaccine plan, the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has approved up to $2 billion in finance for countries to buy shots via the AU.
Earlier this month, Europe approved J&J single dose COVID-19 vaccine. The United States, Canada and Bahrain have also approved the shot.
Late last year, J&J said it and the GAVI vaccine alliance expected to enter into a deal that would provide up to 500 million doses of the company’s vaccine to COVAX through 2022.