The African Union said on Thursday it has secured an additional 400 million doses of vaccines to the already purchased 270 million. This comes after a new and even more contiguous variant of the corona virus disease had spread from South Africa. “So far, six African countries and areas have confirmed cases of the new variant: South Africa, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mayotte, and Zambia. Beyond Africa, the variant has been confirmed in 24 countries globally, and there’s concern it is circulating in other African countries as yet undetected” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

During an online conference held on Thursday, WHO announced that 20 percent of the African continent can expect to be immunized against Corona virus, by the end of 2021. “The aim is to reach 20 percent at least, to cover 20 percent of the population by the end of the year, and I might say that with the latest developments within the Covax facility, there is a very very good prospect that this aim to supply up to 600 million doses by the end of 2021 will definitely be reached”, said Richard Mihigo, WHO Africa Immunization Coordinator.

It has been estimated that Africa will need 1.5 billion vaccine doses to immunize 60 percent of its population, which was estimated to cost about $7 and $10 billion. Egypt, Guinea, Morrocco and Seychelles are the first countries who have begun vaccination of their citizens.

Since, the outbreak of the corona virus pandemic, Africa has reported fewer infections and deaths than in America and Europe. According to the Africa CDC. Africa has so far recorded 3.4 million cases of corona virus infections and 87, 000 deaths, even as many countries are witnessing a second wave of the virus.