COVAX to delay vaccine supplies to Africa for March, April, says UNICEF
London, March 25, 2021 (AltAfrica)-India will likely delay deliveries of AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine doses to the GAVI/WHO-backed COVAX facility for March and April, the programme’s procurement and distributing partner UNICEF told Reuters early on Thursday.
The delay in covid vaccine supply to Africa will significantly affect the rollout of vaccination that is far behind other regions of the world due to late start
More than 14.6 million vaccine doses have been delivered to 22 African countries since 24 February through COVAX, an effort co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organization (WHO) in partnership with UNICEF.
“We understand that deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines to lower-income economies participating in the COVAX Facility will likely face delays following a setback in securing export licenses for further doses of COVID-19 vaccines produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII), expected to be shipped in March and April,” UNICEF said in an email.
#COVID19 vaccination in #Africa is gathering pace, but vaccine supply is lagging behind. Some countries are exhausting supplies just a few weeks after launching vaccinations.@AVMIAfrica's Prof. William Ampofo discusses vaccine manufacturing in Africa. https://t.co/uPl2qItoEg— WHO African Region (@WHOAFRO) March 20, 2021
“COVAX is in talks with the Government of India with a view to ensuring deliveries as quickly as possible.”
Reuters reported on Wednesday that India had put a temporary hold on all major exports of the AstraZeneca shot made by SII, the world’s biggest vaccine-maker, to meet domestic demand as infections rise.
UNICEF also said that COVAX participant countries have also been told about lower-than-expected supplies of AstraZeneca doses made in South Korea for March.
“In line with the challenges of the current global supply environment, this is due to challenges the company faces in rapidly scaling up supply and optimizing production processes for these early deliveries,” UNICEF said.
Ten countries have started vaccination using COVAX-funded vaccines, while another 10 began with vaccines procured outside the COVAX Facility – either bilaterally or through donations.