Global vaccine solidarity, insufficient to supply Africa (WHO)

The current level of global solidarity for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is not enough to accommodate Africa’s needs as planned, WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti said on Thursday.

“Clearly global solidarity is still a work in progress. It was our ambition, it was our hope. It has not delivered to the extent that we had hoped, it’s still a work in progress. We are still doing the advocacy for donations from countries that have secured more vaccines to cover the entire population,” Moeti said at a briefing.
Matshidiso Moeti highlighted that the deployment is a “critical first step” to ensure countries access to vaccines.

“Africa has watched other regions start COVID-19 vaccination campaigns from the side-lines for too long. This planned roll-out is a critical first step to ensuring the continent gets equitable access to vaccines”, Dr. Moeti said.

Amid surging demand for COVID-19 vaccines, the final shipments will be based on production capacities of vaccine manufacturers and the readiness of countries, WHO added, noting that recipient countries are required to submit finalized national deployment and vaccination plans to receive vaccines from the COVAX facility.

The initial 90 million doses 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.

As production capacity increases and more vaccines become available the aim is to vaccinate at least 20 per cent of Africans by providing up to 600 million doses by the end of 2021.

The WHO and partners have put together a global facility — COVAX — whose aim is to ensure equitable access to safe and efficient vaccines, both for countries which can afford it and those in need of assistance. The facility includes over 90 low- and middle- income countries which will be financially aided to afford vaccines.

COVAX was designed to distribute vaccines among participating countries at the same rate proportional to their total population size. No country will receive more doses than enough to vaccinate 20 percent of the population until the same amount has been made available to all countries in the financing group. There is also a small emergency stockpile, amounting to about 5 percent of all available doses, that the facility will keep for acute outbreaks and humanitarian organizations.

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.

Dr. Moeti also said that the announcement allows African nations to fine-tune their planning for COVID-19 immunization campaigns and called on the countries to finalize their immunization plans.

“We urge African nations to ramp up readiness and finalize their national vaccine deployment plans. Regulatory processes, cold chain systems and distribution plans need to be in place to ensure vaccines are safely expedited from ports of entry to delivery”, she added.

 

About Khalid Al Mouahidi 3409 Articles
Khalid Al Mouahidi : A binational from the US and Morocco, Khalid El Mouahidi has worked for several american companies in the Maghreb Region and is currently based in Casablanca, where he is doing consulting jobs for major international companies . Khalid writes analytical pieces about economic ties between the Maghreb and the Mena Region, where he has an extensive network