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South Africa will no longer send J&J vaccines to Europe, AU envoy says

An arrangement in which South Africa would ship Johnson and Johnson Covid-19 vaccines to Europe has been suspended according to the African Union Special Envoy for Covid-19 response. The suspension is in part due to interventions by the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and French President Emmanuel Macron. Strive Masiyiwa, AU Special Envoy for Covid-19 response, said all the vaccines produced at Aspen, J&J’s partner company, will stay in Africa and be distributed there. 

The arrangement was criticized by activists who were concerned with the slow vaccination rates in Africa compared to Europe. Only 3% of Africa’s people have been fully vaccinated while 57% of the population of Europe has been fully vaccinated. The African Union has purchased more than 400 million doses of the J&J vaccine which will be distributed across the continent between now and September 2022. Europe also committed to give the AU 200 million doses before the end of December.

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