Did Africa pay more for Covid-19 vaccines?

How much did African countries pay for Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines Vaxzevria and Covishield?

The short answer?

In most cases, more than other countries.

The data is from Unicef and although it is not exhaustive – it had vaccine price data for only fiveAfrican countries – we can see generally how much vaccines have cost countries.

We looked at the prices for four vaccines: Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca/Covishield, Pfizer and Moderna.

For the most part, vaccines were purchased from pharmaceutical companies either by countries, regional bodies or through the vaccine alliance Covax.

Read more: Covax in Africa – which vaccines are countries getting, and how much?

AstraZeneca & Covishield

The vaccine alliance Covax, which aimed to fairly and equitably distribute vaccines across the globe, bought the two-dose AstraZeneca/Covishield vaccines for $3 a dose.

Covishield is the name for the AstraZeneca vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India.

But when South Africa initially bought Covishield – before selling it to the African Union because of concerns about its efficacy against the Beta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus – it cost $5.25 a dose.

While in Europe the two-dose Vaxzevria from Oxford-AstraZeneca, cost the European Union $2.19 a dose.

Johnson & Johnson

The African Union and South Africa bought the one-dose Johnson & Johnson for $10.

The European Commission managed to buy the same one-dose Johnson & Johnson for $8.50, while the United States paid $10 a dose.

Moderna

The two-dose Moderna vaccine has one of the widest range of prices, from Covax paying $10 a dose to Kuwait paying $40 a dose.

On average, the dose cost around $23.79, but Botswana paid $28.88 per dose – $5 above the average.

Pfizer-BioNTech

African countries bought the two-dose Pfizer vaccine at a discount compared with other countries. On average, African countries spent $7.92 per dose; while in Europe, the same vaccine cost an average of $18.92.

Sinopharm & Sinovac

In general it appears that some countries bought the Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines at a discount.

On average, the two-dose Sinopharm vaccine sold at $18.33 globally, Senegal paid $18.60 per dose and Uganda paid $5.45 – a significant discount.

The two-dose Sinovac vaccine was sold slightly cheaper at $17.85 a dose on average. Botswana reportedly paid $15 per dose.

Sputnik V

The Russian made two-dose vaccine sold for a global average of $14.72, but Ghana reportedly paid $19 a dose. Argentina, which manufactured part of the vaccine, bought Sputnik V at $9.95 a dose.

New vaccines are the cheapest

Corbevax is the cheapest vaccines on the market at $1.92 per dose. The vaccine, manufactured by a consortium of Biological E. Limited, Baylor College of Medicine, Dynavax and Texas Children’s Hospital has emergency use approval in Botswana and India.

On 29 March, philanthropist and surgeon Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong donated 100-million pula’s worth of Corbevax vaccines to Botswana.

The World Health Organisation has not yet granted Corbevax emergency use approval.

Methodology

Data from UNICEF COVID-19 Vaccine Market Dashboard, downloaded on 30 March 2022. The data is based on reported prices, released either by government agencies, news organisations or Covax. The cost of the vaccines per dose are supplied in US dollars. 

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