Covid-19: Syringe shortage threatens vaccination in Africa

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to grow on the African continent. According to WHO Africa, which held its weekly press briefing on Thursday 28 October, there are now nearly 8.5 million cases across the continent. The disease has already killed more than 217,000 people. Although vaccines are beginning to arrive in significant quantities, only 5.7% of the population has now completed a full vaccination schedule. And the campaigns are likely to suffer a setback, as Africa is now short of syringes.
Rwanda has one of the highest vaccination rates against Covid-19 in Africa. Two million Rwandans have received the two injections and 90% of adults in Kigali are vaccinated. However, today a new threat looms: the lack of syringes.
Another challenge is that some vaccines require special syringes. Sibusiso Hlatjwako is the Africa director of PATH, a health NGO, which recently conducted a study on the shortage of syringes in Africa. It’s a new model that can’t be used for other vaccines. So manufacturers would have to start new production lines, which could take a whole year. If nothing is done to deal with this shortage, countries will have to make hard choices: using the syringes for Coronavirus vaccines or for those against childhood diseases…”
According to PATH, the African continent is already short more than one billion syringes.