Africa requires urgent 20m doses Of covid jabs in six weeks to prevent needless deaths -WHO
London, May 28, 2021 (AltAfrica)-Africa urgently needs at least 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine within six weeks if those who have had their first shot are to get the second in time, the WHO said Thursday.
As supplies dry up, dose-sharing is an urgent, critical & short-term solution to ensuring that Africans at the greatest risk of #COVID19 get the much-needed protection.#Africa needs vaccines now. Any pause in our vaccination campaigns will lead to lost lives and lost hope. pic.twitter.com/M12IcOuldZ— Dr Matshidiso Moeti (@MoetiTshidi) May 27, 2021
“Africa needs vaccines now,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization’s Regional Director for Africa.
“Any pause in our vaccination campaigns will lead to lost lives and lost hope.
Aside the 20 millions doses urgently required, WHO says another 200 million doses any COVID-19 vaccine are needed so that the continent can vaccinate 10% of its population by September 2021
The WHO statement underlined the importance of respecting the recommended interval of eight to 12 weeks between doses to ensure a recipient’s prolonged 81-percent protection rate.
“As supplies dry up, dose-sharing is an urgent, critical and short-term solution to ensuring that Africans at the greatest risk of COVID-19 get the much-needed protection,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “Africa needs vaccines now. Any pause in our vaccination campaigns will lead to lost lives and lost hope.”
To date, 28 million COVID-19 doses, of different vaccines, have been administered in Africa, which represents less than two doses administered per 100 people in Africa. Globally, 1.5 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered.“
It’s too soon to tell if Africa is on the cusp of a third wave. However, we know that cases are rising, and the clock is ticking so we urgently appeal to countries that have vaccinated their high-risk groups to speed up the dose-sharing to fully protect the most vulnerable people.”
As of May 26, Africa had registered more than 4.7 million cases of coronavirus with nearly 130,000 deaths attributed to the virus.
France is the first country to share COVID-19 vaccines from its domestic supply, donating over 31 000 doses to Mauritania, with another 74 400 set for imminent delivery. France has pledged to share half a million more doses with six African countries in the next few weeks. The European Union and its Member States have pledged over 100 million doses for low-income countries by the end of 2021. The United States of America has pledged to share 80 million doses with lower-income countries, and other high-income countries have expressed interest in sharing vaccines. Expediting these pledges is crucial and the COVAX Facility is a proven tool for swift delivery.
African countries that are unable to use all their vaccines are sharing them across the continent. While this prevents vaccine wastage, redistributing doses is costly and countries must roll out all available doses as soon as possible. WHO is working closely with countries to improve vaccine rollout by optimizing delivery strategies and increasing uptake.