J&J in deal to supply COVID-19 vaccine to African Union member states

FILE PHOTO: Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is administered in Bay Shore, NY

(Reuters) - Johnson & Johnson will supply up to 220 million doses of its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine to African Union's 55 member states from the third quarter of 2021, the drugmaker said on Monday.

J&J, through its unit Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, entered into a deal with the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT), which could order an additional 180 million doses, for a combined total of up to 400 million doses through 2022. (https://refini.tv/3cyeFiB)

"We need to immunize at least 60% of our population in order to get rid of the virus from our continent. The J&J agreement enables us to move towards achieving this target," said John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

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, the programme backed by the World Health Organization, through 2022.

Johnson & Johnson has established a global manufacturing and supply network for its COVID-19 vaccine, collaborating with nine partners across four continents, including Aspen Pharmacare in South Africa.

(Reporting by Nandakumar D in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Giulia Paravicini in Addis Ababa; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)