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Coronavirus vaccines supply grinding to halt in Africa – WHO

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WORLD Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that the supply of COVID-19 vaccines to the African region has ground to a near halt, leaving many Africans, including those more vulnerable to severe illness and death exposed to disease.

  It further stated that so far, between February and May this year, only about 18.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been delivered to African countries through the COVAX facility.

  Noting that COVID-19 vaccine shipments have slowed down in Africa because of reliance on India, which is currently battling the deadly pandemic, the WHO stressed that the push for COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing in Africa remains a lasting solution.

  WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, who made these known during a virtual press briefing on “Financing COVID-19 vaccines in Africa,” urged richer countries who have vaccinated very significant proportion of their populations to share some of their COVID-19 vaccines with low and middle-income countries.

  “Vaccine deliveries to Africa have ground to a near halt, leaving many Africans, including those more vulnerable to severe illness and death, exposed to COVID-19. Dose sharing from high-income countries is an urgent, crucial part of the solution to Africa’s vaccine supply crunch.

When we look at access to the COVID-19 vaccines, we see great inequalities across countries – Seychelles is one of the most vaccinated countries in the world, with 67 per cent of the population having received at least one dose.

In 14 African countries, less than one per cent of the population has received a single COVID-19 vaccine dose and in four countries, vaccination has not started.COVID-19 vaccine shipments to African countries have slowed down to a trickle this month because of the reliance on India as one of the key manufacturers globally, and the devastating surge of cases India is dealing with. The continent was expecting 66 million COVID-19 vaccine doses through COVAX from February to May, but instead, has so far received only 18.2 million doses,” she said.

  A post on Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres’ Twitter said: “Out of 1.4 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses administered around the world, less than two per cent have reached Africa. Equitable and sustainable vaccine roll-out worldwide is the quickest path towards a fast and fair recovery for all. There is a great interest and push for COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing on the African continent, and this is a promising medium- to long-term solution.”

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