The Mastercard Foundation and Africa CDC jointly announced that 756,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines purchased under the Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative have landed in Uganda and are set for distribution.
The shipment is part of a first tranche of vaccines to be delivered under the initiative.
Through Saving Lives and Livelihoods, the Mastercard Foundation is purchasing vaccines for more than 65 million people across Africa. Thevaccines will be distributed within countries by UNICEF.
Launched in June 2021, Saving Lives and Livelihoods is now a $1.5 billion partnership that aims to enable vaccination for millions of people, develop a workforce for vaccine manufacturing, and strengthen the Africa CDC’s capacity to oversee a historic vaccination campaign and effectively respond to future outbreaks.
Commenting on this delivery Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, the minister for Health, Ministry of Health said: "The Government of Uganda extends its sincere appreciation to the Mastercard Foundation and Africa CDC for this timely noble cause and valuable partnership. We are confident that these Johnson & Johnson vaccines will guarantee the safety of more people, families and communities in our country."
Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation said timely delivery of the vaccines underscores the effectiveness of the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust.
Vaccines purchased under Saving Lives and Livelihoods build on a historic agreement negotiated by the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) earlier this year for the purchase of 400 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines as well as a more recent agreement for the purchase of 50 million Moderna vaccines.
The Mastercard Foundation will fund the purchase of 57 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines and is seeking to purchase approximately 17 million Moderna vaccines. The AVAT mechanism was created to enable African countries to pool together resources to directly purchase vaccines at discounted prices made possible by volume orders.
"Through the AVAT, we have secured enough vaccines to vaccinate 450 million people by September 2022. In this regard, Africa has met its side of the bargain. So far, the Mastercard Foundation is the only foundation that has stepped up to support Africa in this work. They are covering AVAT’s entire November shipment—and we remain grateful for their support. We hope to see other foundations and corporations get behind the local and national delivery of vaccines," said Strive Masiyiwa, African Union special envoy.
The roll out of vaccines under the Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative will be led by UNICEF, who are overseeing vaccine delivery for the overall AVAT effort.
UNICEF has extensive experience delivering vaccines, and a strong and well-established relationship with African countries. UNICEF is also supporting the procurement of vaccines for the Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative and the larger AVAT vaccine purchase effort.
"UNICEF is proud to continue our support to AVAT and Africa CDC to help vaccinate the millions of people in Africa who have been left behind," said UNICEF executive director, Henrietta Fore.
"With our long history of procuring and delivering vaccines all around the world, we are committed to helping reduce vaccine inequity and keeping people safe."