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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Vaccine Inequality: Africa Will Miss its COVID-19 Vaccination Goals – WHO

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Justina Asishana
Justina Asishana
Justina Asishana is a Nigerian from Edo state. She is a data and investigative journalist who also fact-checks. She covers health, agriculture, education and governance

CONGO. Brazzaville:  The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that export bans and vaccine hoarding have slowed vaccine supplies to Africa. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti lamented that with the rich countries locking COVAX out of the market, it has widen the gap in vaccine equity and will make Africa miss its vaccination goals.

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Moeti spoke during a virtual press conference today facilitated by APO Group.

“As long as rich countries lock COVAX out of the market, Africa will miss its vaccination goals. The huge gap in vaccine equity is not closing anywhere near fast enough. It is time for vaccine manufacturing countries to open the gates and help protect those facing the greatest risk”, she said.

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According to her, the locking out of COVAX from the vaccine market has forced the facility to slash the planned COVID-19 vaccine deliveries to Africa by around 150 million this year.

Read Also: COVID-19: Nigeria Infection Cases Rise To 200,000

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“The continent faces almost 500 million doses short of the global year-end target of fully vaccinating 40 per cent of its population. This shortfall comes as Africa tops eight million COVID-19 cases this week.   

“With the cutback, COVAX is now expected to deliver 470 million doses to Africa this year. These will be enough to vaccinate just 17 per cent of the population, far below the 40% target.

“An additional 470 million doses are needed to reach the end-year target even if all planned shipments via COVAX, a multilateral initiative aimed at guaranteeing global access to lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines, and the African Union are delivered.”

COVID-19 Cases in Africa

The WHO Regional Director for Africa stated that Africa now records 8.06 million COVID-19 cases recorded as of 14 September 2021.

She said that nearly 125,000 new cases were recorded in the week ending on 12 September.

“While this is a 27 per cent drop from the previous week, weekly new cases are still at about the peak of the first wave and 19 countries continue to report high or fast-rising case numbers.

“Deaths fell by 19 per cent to 2,531 reported in Africa in the week to September 12th. The highly transmissible Delta variant has been found in 31 African countries. The Alpha variant has been detected in 44 countries and the Beta variant in 39”, she added.

Appeal to Countries

COVAX has appealed to countries with enough vaccines to give up their place in the queue for deliveries while.

“About 95 million more doses are set to arrive in Africa via COVAX throughout September, which will be the largest shipment the continent receives for any month so far. Yet even as deliveries pick up, Africa has been able to fully vaccinate just 50 million people or 3.6% of its people”, Moeti lamented.

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  • Justina Asishana

    Justina Asishana is a Nigerian from Edo state. She is a data and investigative journalist who also fact-checks. She covers health, agriculture, education and governance

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