From the beginning of the #COVID-19 pandemic, the global health community has recognized that no one is safe until everyone is safe, and that equitable access to prevention, testing and treatment for people around the world will be key to bringing the pandemic to an end.
At Johnson & Johnson, as we developed our single-shot COVID-19 vaccine candidate, we’ve also been committed to ensuring equitable global access. In December 2020, we entered into an agreement in principle with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) in support of the COVAX Facility, which is supporting the initial vaccination needs of 190 participating economies, including many countries in Africa.
This morning, Johnson & Johnson announced that we have entered into an agreement with the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) to make available up to 400 million doses of our single-shot vaccine candidate to African Union’s 55 member states, subject to approval or authorization by the national regulatory authorities.
We recognize the increasingly severe impact of COVID-19 in Africa, as well as the emergence and continued spread of a SARS-CoV-2 variant in the Republic of South Africa that demonstrates increased transmissibility. Data from the Phase 3 ENSEMBLE study showed that the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine candidate protects against COVID-19 related hospitalization and death in broad geographic regions, including those with variants of significant concern, such as the B.1.351 variant which was identified in 95 percent of the COVID-19 cases in South Africa.
Today’s agreement with AVAT, combined with our commitment to the COVAX Facility and supplementary agreements with countries and regions, will advance our goal to ensure no one is left behind in the global response to COVID-19, and help accelerate progress toward ending the pandemic. Read more here: bit.ly/3cx7Uxu
By Paul Stoffels, Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson (LinkedIn)