Africa needs seven-fold increase in COVID-19 vaccine shipments



Africa needs seven-fold increase in COVID-19 vaccine shipments

Without widespread vaccination and other preventive measures, the continent’s fourth wave will likely be the most brutal yet

BRAZZAVILLE, Congo (Republic of), September 23, 2021 / Groupe APO / –

COVID-19 vaccine shipments to Africa must be more than seven-fold from around 20 million per month to 150 million per month on average if the continent is to fully immunize 70% of its population by September 2022 .

The 70% target was agreed at the COVID-19 global summit hosted by the United States of America on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly this week.

At the summit, the United States pledged to share an additional 500 million COVID-19 vaccines to low-income countries over the next year, bringing its total pledges to more than 1.1 billion doses.

“The COVID-19 Global Summit has been a dose of hope for Africa and we welcome commitments to share more vaccines, save lives and build back better. This is the kind of international solidarity that will help end the pandemic. This is the life or death of millions of potential Africans, so there is no time to waste in moving these expeditions forward, ”said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, Regional Director of the World Organization. (WHO) for Africa.

The COVAX facility, the global platform for ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, has been forced to cut deliveries planned to Africa by 25% this year, due to global supply shortages and bans on export. COVAX shipments continue to arrive in African countries – with 4 million doses received last week. However, only a third of the vaccines rich countries pledged to share with Africa by the end of 2021 have been received.

“Actions speak louder than words and African countries need clear delivery dates to be able to plan properly. We also need strong structures in place to ensure that all promises made are promises kept, ”said Dr Moeti.

WHO has assisted 18 African countries to conduct intra-action reviews, which analyze all aspects of their immunization campaigns and offer recommendations. Reviews have shown that the security of vaccine supply and the uncertainty surrounding deliveries have been a major obstacle for many African countries. In addition, the longer the vaccine deployment timeframe, the greater the risk of additional challenges such as variations, hesitations, operational gaps, or other threats appearing.

As Africa’s third wave continues to subside, 108,000 new cases have been recorded and more than 3,000 lives lost in the week to September 19. There are now nearly 8.2 million cases of COVID-19 recorded on the continent. The Delta variant has been found in 38 African countries. The Alpha variant has been detected in 45 countries and the Beta in 40.

“Health workers, services and communities can and should use this time to regroup and prepare for the next wave. With year-end travel and festive celebrations fast approaching, further increases in cases are to be expected in the coming months. Without widespread vaccination and other preventive measures, the continent’s fourth wave will likely be the most brutal yet, ”said Dr Moeti.

The WHO Regional Office for Africa today held a virtual press conference facilitated by APO Group. During the briefing, Dr Benido Impouma, Director of the Universal Health Coverage / Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases program, WHO Regional Office for Africa, was joined by Professor Jean-Jacques Muyembe, Director General, National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB), Democratic Republic of the Congo and Technical Secretary of the Multisectoral Committee for the Response to COVID-19 in the DRC, and Dr Githinji Gitahi, Group Director General, AMREF Health Africa.

Dr Richard Mihigo, Coordinator, Immunization and Vaccine Development Program, WHO Regional Office for Africa, and Dr Thierno Balde, Deputy Regional COVID-19 Incident Manager, WHO Regional Office for Africa, were also present to answer questions.

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