On 3rd September 2021, Liberia received 108,000 Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses shipped via the African Union (AU), African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) initiative, a partnership with UNICEF with funding from the World Bank.
These deliveries are part of the historic COVID-19 vaccine advance procurement agreement signed by AVAT and World Bank for the purchase of 108,000 thousand doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-shot COVID-19 vaccine. On June 30, 2021, the World Bank approved USD 8 million dollars additional financing to support both the acquisition and equitable deliverable deployment of vaccines.
AVAT was established by the African COVID-19 Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, set up in November 2020 under the African Union chairmanship of HE President Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa, as part of the African Union’s COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Access Strategy, and its goal of vaccinating at least 60 per cent of the African population with safe and efficacious vaccines against COVID-19.
Liberia will receive a total of 386,452 doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccine through AVAT mechanism. This will contribute to the WHO target of vaccinating 10% of the population by end of September and 40% by December 2021.
Speaking during the handing over of the vaccines at the Roberts International Airport in Margibi County, The Honorable Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, Health Minister of the Republic of Liberia expressed gratitude for another batch of supplies of vaccines to Liberia. “Tonight is another milestone for all of us and to all who are still sitting on the fence and deciding, the vaccines are getting better and better” Min. Jallah said.
“We need to prepare and enhance immunity by vaccination against Covid-19 as we continue to use other preventive measures. We are making sure we go to where we should be by the end of September, December and next year, as nobody knows when COVID-19 will end” Min Jallah.
On behalf of the UN family, Mr. Niels Scott, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Liberia said the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination in Liberia is an evidence to the change in the paradigm of COVID-19 vaccines being administered to only people in wealthy countries. “So far, 80% of all vaccines globally that has been administered have gone to the wealthier countries, the high income, upper middle income countries. We are changing this” He added.
The Acting Country Manager of World Bank, Mr. Mark Mulbah congratulated the Liberian government and its partners, the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) and the African Union for the delivery of these 108,000 Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses.
Among others to receive the COVID-19 vaccines at the Roberts International Airport were officials from the Government of Liberia, World Bank, UN Agencies including WHO and UNICEF and several health development partners.