Africa desperately needs about 225 million doses of vaccines to meet a September target of vaccinating at least 10 per cent of the population, a new global target set recently at the World Health Assembly.
So far only seven African countries are likely to meet the target.
The COVID-19 pandemic infections are on an upward trend in 10 African countries, with four nations recording a spike in new cases of over 30 per cent in the past seven days, compared with the previous week.
Currently, 72 per cent of the new caseload in the continent is being reported in Egypt, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia.
“As we close in on five million cases and a third wave in Africa looms, many of our most vulnerable people remain dangerously exposed to COVID-19. Vaccines have been proven to prevent cases and deaths, so countries that can, must urgently share COVID-19 vaccines. It’s do or die on dose sharing for Africa,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization Regional Director for Africa.
With a stock of 32 million Covid-19 doses, Africa accounts for under one per cent of the over 2.1 billion doses administered globally.
Just 2 per cent of the continent’s nearly 1.3 billion people have received a single shot of the lifesaving vaccine. A total of 9.4 million Africans have been fully vaccinated.
Dr Moeti also noted that, some African countries must ramp up actions to swiftly roll out the vaccines they have, adding that only 14 African countries have used between 80-100 per cent of the doses they received under COVAX.
A total of 20 countries have used less than 50 per cent of the doses received while 12 countries have more than 10 per cent of their AstraZeneca doses at risk of expiring by the end of August.
“We need to ensure that the vaccines that we have are not wasted because every dose is precious,” said Dr Moeti. “Countries that are lagging behind in their rollout need to step up vaccination efforts.”
Meanwhile, the US President Joe Biden is urging global leaders to join him in sharing coronavirus vaccines with struggling nations around the world after his administration promised to donate 500 million doses of Pfizer vaccines for distribution through COVAX alliance to 92 lower- income countries and the African Union.
“We’re going to help lead the world out of this pandemic working alongside our global partners,”The US President Joe Biden
Speaking in England before a summit of the Group of Seven world leaders, Biden announced the US commitment to vaccine sharing, which comes on top of 80 million doses he has already pledged by the end of June.
“We’re going to help lead the world out of this pandemic working alongside our global partners,” said Biden.
The G-7 nations are set to commit to sharing at least one billion coronavirus shots with the world, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Thursday, with half coming from the US and 100 million from the UK, the AP reported.