Covax floods Africa with vaccines to curtail emerging resurgence of covid-19 virus
London, March 4, 2021 (AltAfrica)-Covax has finally ended Africa’s long wait for the Covid-19 vaccine with a floodgate of vaccines in the last one week
The floodgates began with Ghana and its West African neighbour,Ivory Coast becoming the world’s first states to administer vaccines from COVAX, a global scheme to procure free coronavirus jabs for poorer countries.
Ghana🇬🇭 kicks off #COVID19 vaccination campaign with vaccines from #COVAX this morning. 👏🏿👏🏿👏🏿 600,000 Oxford-AstraZeneca doses were sent by the COVAX Facility.— WHO African Region (@WHOAFRO) March 1, 2021
President @NAkufoAddo was the first to receive the vaccine. Watch live: https://t.co/06pXFRkPhp pic.twitter.com/PikH43MKtX
Since then, more African countries including Nigeria, Angola, DRC, Kenya Gambia and Rwanda have all received their first batches of the coronavirus vaccines under the global Covax scheme. Several other countries including Mali, Senegal, Malawi and Uganda set to receive them this week.
In all, eight African countries have received about 9 million doses in a spate of one week to kick start what appears to be a long battle against the pandemic
And COVAX alone will not supply Africa’s 54 countries with the doses needed to reach the 60% population coverage for achieving so-called herd immunity, when enough people are protected through infection or vaccination to make it difficult for a virus to continue to spread.
That’s why some countries such as Egypt, Morocco and South Africa, the hardest-hit African nation, are also pursuing COVID-19 vaccines via bilateral deals or via the African Union’s bulk-purchasing program.
Head of WHO Africa region says each new delivery marks an advance towards defeating this pandemic which has held lives & economies hostage for too long.”
While Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation has so far received the highest doses of 3.9 million, 1.7 million #COVID19 vaccine doses went in Kinshasa, DRC while Kenya received more than a million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on Wednesday, becoming the third East African country to benefit from the UN-backed distribution initiative.
Angola received 624,000 doses of the vaccine, while The Gambia received 36,000 doses on Wednesday.
Rwanda on Wednesday received first batch of 240,000 #COVID19 Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines through #COVAX! Another batch of vaccines expected later same day . This is part of ground breaking efforts by COVAX to deliver close to 2 billion COVID-19 vaccines globally in 2021.
The Covax scheme is a World Health Organization-driven strategy for a global and equitable distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine. It hopes to deliver more than two billion doses to people in 190 countries in less than a year
“Africa has watched other regions start COVID-19 vaccination campaigns from the side-lines for too long. This roll-out is a critical first step to ensuring the continent gets equitable access to vaccines”, Dr. Moeti said.
The initial 90 million doses in this first shipment will support countries inoculate 3 per cent of the African population most in need of protection, including health workers and other vulnerable groups in the first half of 2021.
To complement COVAX efforts, the African Union has secured 670 million vaccine doses for the continent which will be distributed in 2021 and 2022 as countries secure adequate financing, according to WHO.
In addition, about 320,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has already received WHO Emergency Use, have been allocated to four African countries – Cabo Verde, Rwanda, South Africa, and Tunisia – which have the capacity store and distribute doses at minus 70 degrees Celsius, the agency said.