The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday said delivery of COVID-19 vaccine shipments in Africa has ramped up in recent months, reported CGTN Africa.
During a virtual press conference, Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said that nearly 4 million vaccine doses arrived in the African continent last week, compared with just 245,000 doses received in all of June.
“We are beginning to see positive signs as vaccine deliveries to Africa are picking up pace after nearly coming to a halt”, said Dr. Moeti.
She urged all countries with surplus doses to urgently share the doses with needy countries in the spirit of life-saving solidarity as no country is safe until all countries are safe.
According to WHO, around 30 countries have used more than three-quarters of the vaccines they received. Seven countries, including Equatorial Guinea, Mauritius, Morocco, and Seychelles, have reached significant vaccination rates above the continental average.
“Considering a two-dose schedule, as is the case with most COVID-19 vaccines, 820 million vaccine doses are needed to reach the target of fully vaccinating 30 percent of Africa’s population by the end of this year”, the UN official said.
According to Moeti, African nations have received some 79 million COVID-19 doses so far and 21 million people or 1.6 percent of the continent’s population is fully immunized. She said the continent needs up to 820 million doses to fully vaccinate 30% of Africa’s population by the end of 2021.
Moeti said the WHO-led COVAX facility will deliver 520 million doses to the continent towards the end of this year while African Union’s Africa Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) is expected to deliver 10 million doses each month from September, to hit a target of 45 million by year’s end.
She also disclosed that the COVAX facility has entered new deals with China’s Sinopharm and Sinovac to rapidly supply 110 million additional doses to low-income countries, a majority in Africa.