At a time when many African countries are facing an upsurge in coronavirus cases, vaccination appears to be the only long-term solution to the health crisis. Around 1.5bn vaccine doses will be needed for the continent to reach its herd immunity threshold. The price tag could reach $10bn with additional costs of 20 to 30% for vaccination programme delivery. From securing access to doses to distributing and delivering them, speed will be key in preventing Africa from lagging behind the rest of the world in the economic recovery. For these endeavours to be successful, the private sector will have to play a major role.