Mastercard Foundation Covid Fight Africa
The Mastercard Foundation President and CEO Reeta Roy.

The Mastercard Foundation plans to channel $1.3 billion to assist African nations to ramp up vaccinations and as well as boost the continent’s economic recovery strategy over the next three years.

Announcing the financial aid on Tuesday, June 8, Mastercard Foundation President and CEO Reeta Roy said the initiative, dubbed ‘Saving Lives and Livelihoods’ aims at buying COVID-19 vaccines for at least 50 million people—bolstering the work of Africa Centers for Diseases Control and supporting the deployment of jabs to the arms of millions of people across the continent.

“Ensuring equitable access and delivery of vaccines across Africa is urgent,” she noted, adding that, “this initiative is about valuing all lives and accelerating the economic recovery of the continent.”

The Mastercard Foundation is buying single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine under an agreement between the African Union and the pharmaceutical firm that gives Africa discounted access to at least 220 million doses. The Mastercard Foundation plans to start delivering the lifesaving vaccines in August.

Read also: Lifting Covid curbs will put the unvaccinated at risk, warns WHO

According to the Africa CDC Director, Dr John Nkengasong, the AU targets to vaccinate 750 million people, that is, about 60 per cent of the continent’s population by the end of 2022.

At the moment, only about two per cent of Africa’s population has received a COVID-19 shots but Africa CDC is partnering with global funders, the private sector, and governments to ramp up the vaccination campaign.

Dr Nkengasong said that building Africa’s capacity to make its own vaccines “is not just good for the continent, it’s the only sustainable path out of the pandemic and into a health-secure future.”

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 vaccinations administered in Kenya has crossed the one million mark according to the latest data by the ministry of health.

“It’s the only sustainable path out of the pandemic and into a health-secure future.”

Africa CDC Director, Dr John Nkengasong

A total of 1,005,509 shots had been given by Tuesday, June 8, a single-day increase of 29,674 from the figure published a day earlier.

Of the vaccines administered, 978,127 are first doses while 27,382 persons have now been fully vaccinated.

The total number of vaccines given in the country, however, represents less than two per cent of the population.

Further, he number of COVID-19 infections in Kenya increased to 173,072 after 433 tested positive in the last 24-hour period, recording a positivity rate of 9.7 per cent.

Equally, the total fatalities hit 3,326 after 18 more patients succumbed to the disease in Kenya.

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