By February, the WHO and its partners plan to have delivered around 30% of vaccinations to Africa.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners have stated that they plan to provide about 30% of the COVID-19 vaccines Africa requires by February, falling far short of the 60% immunization coverage goal set by African leaders earlier this year.
Only 2% of the 5.7 billion doses of coronavirus vaccinations distributed around the world have been in Africa.
The massive disparity in vaccination rates between rich and poor countries, according to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is a “solvable problem,” and he urged pharmaceutical companies to prioritize the UN-backed COVAX initiative, which aims to share vaccines globally and provide shots at no cost to low-income countries.
The African Union accused COVID-19 vaccine producers of depriving African countries a fair chance to purchase the vaccines, and urged manufacturers – particularly India – to relax export restrictions on vaccines and their components.
“Those manufacturers know very well that they never gave us proper access,” Strive Masiyiwa, AU Special Envoy for COVID-19, told a WHO briefing from Geneva. “We could have handled this very differently.”
But the companies that manufacture the vaccines – including Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna – have shown no indications they are eager to switch their current tactics, which involve appealing to rich countries and their regulators to authorise booster shots.
Masiyiwa stressed that, in aiming to vaccinate 60 percent of its population, the African Union and its partners had expected to buy half the doses needed, while half were expected to come as donations through the COVAX programme, backed by the WHO and the GAVI global vaccine alliance.
“We want access to purchase,” he said.
GAVI CEO Seth Berkley said that at the start of the outbreak, his organization was dependent on supplies from India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturing center, but that no doses had arrived since March, when India implemented export restrictions.
“The suppliers have made it plain over the last eight to nine months that the major problem they face is export restrictions,” Masiyiwa continued.
Source: AL JAZEERA