The first Covid-19 vaccine doses donated by the UK through a worldwide distribution scheme are due to arrive in Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Friday.

Gavi, the vaccine alliance, said 119,200 doses of AstraZeneca will be touching down in Lusaka and 51,840 will arrive in Kinshasa.

Angola, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda are among the other African countries also set to benefit from the three million doses donated to the continent by Britain through the World Health Organisation’s Covax distribution scheme.

Malawi is due to receive 119,040 doses on Saturday while Senegal’s 140,160 doses will be with it by Sunday. A total of 299,680 doses are set to arrive in Egypt on Monday, and 299,520 should reach Uganda on Wednesday.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “Three million doses of UK-donated vaccines are now arriving in 11 countries across Africa, including Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, to help the fight against Covid-19.

“This is the first batch of 80 million being donated via Covax, because we know no-one is safe until everyone is safe.”

The UK has pledged to donate 100 million spare vaccines to poorer nations, with 75% of people in Britain now double-jabbed.

Nine million have been sent in the first batch, Mr Raab confirmed last month, with five million of those being distributed by Covax.

The UK is also covering the costs of syringes, safety boxes, air freight and other ancillary costs.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set the target of offering a vaccine to everyone worldwide by the end of 2022.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab during a visit to Oxbox Biomedica, an AstraZeneca manufacturing site in Oxford
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab during a visit to Oxbox Biomedica, an AstraZeneca manufacturing site in Oxford (Steve Parsons/PA)

Mr Johnson tweeted: “Thanks to UK donations, three million of the world’s most vulnerable will now have access to Covid vaccinations.

“They join over one billion people around the world who have been protected by the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The UK will continue to be a leading supporter of Covax.”

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “The UK is proud to be a major supporter of Covax and the crucial work it does in getting vaccines to countries that need them most.

“The five million doses donated to Covax are part of our pledge to contribute 100 million vaccines within the next year to help accelerate global access, and it’s fantastic that from today the doses will be making a difference to millions of lives.

“I am hugely grateful to the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca for producing this vaccine at cost – after all, we are not safe from Covid-19 until the whole world is safe.”

The UK has given £548 million in funding to the Gavi Covax Advance Market Commitment to help procure doses for 92 lower-income economies.

Gavi has praised Mr Johnson’s administration for using the presidency of the G7 to agree major dose-sharing commitments with world leaders at the Carbis Bay, Cornwall, summit in June.

Dr Seth Berkley, chief executive of Gavi, said: “The Government of the United Kingdom has been one of global vaccination’s strongest advocates and an early supporter of Covax.

“Dose donations play an important part in Covax’s mission, especially now as we wait for deliveries to ramp up aggressively in the weeks to come.

“These deliveries will have a direct impact on protecting some of the most vulnerable people in the world.”

More than 600 million doses have already been pledged to Covax by a host of countries.