The shipping of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses to Europe that had been packaged in South Africa has been suspended, African Union (AU) envoy Strive Masiyiwa said on Thursday.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said last month he was “stunned” by the arrangement, since Europe has very high vaccination rates while even the most vulnerable people in many African countries had not been vaccinated.
Less than 3% of the continent’s population has been vaccinated.
J&J has a bilateral deal with South Africa to supply 31 million vaccine doses and a separate contract with the AU for 220 million doses with an option for a further 180 million said Masiyiwa.
The shots packaged by J&J’s South African partner Aspen that were already sent to Europe would be returned, Masiyiwa said during a news briefing on Thursday.