Many Africans who have received their first COVID-19 vaccine are unsure of when they will receive a second vaccine as deliveries are delayed, the continent’s top public health official said on Thursday.
We cannot predict when the second doses will arrive and it is not good for our vaccination program, ”John Nkengasong, head of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC in Africa) told reporters.
“Africa lags behind most other regions in COVID-19 vaccinations, with just under 14 million doses administered on the continent of 1.3 billion.
“Ghana, for example, has administered around 742,000 doses of the 815,000 injections it has received so far and will run out by the end of next week.
“Even if Ghana had the money, it won’t know where to go to get the vaccine, that’s the challenge,” Nkengasong said.
So far, the majority of vaccines available in African countries have been delivered through the COVAX facility supported by the World Health Organization.
COVAX aims to deliver 600 million vaccines to some 40 African countries this year, enough to vaccinate 20% of their populations.
The majority of these doses are AstraZeneca injections produced by the Serum Insitute of India.
However, in March, India suspended exports to meet growing domestic demand amid soaring COVID-19 cases.
This has caused great uncertainty for the deployment of vaccination in Africa.
“We are at an impasse as a continent,” he added. “Access to vaccines has been limited for us.”
He said he hopes India, where new infections have exceeded 200,000 a day, will lift its restriction as soon as possible.
People who received their first vaccine already have some protection against the virus, he said, and he urged countries to use up their doses before they expire. (Reuters / NAN)
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