Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
World Health Organisation (WHO), has said that COVID-19 vaccine shipments to Africa must rise by over seven times from around 20 million doses per month to 150 million each month on average if the continent is to fully vaccinate 70 per cent of its people by September 2022.
It noted that while Africa’s third wave continues to ease, 108,000 new cases were recorded, and more than 3000 lives lost in the week to 19 September.
According to WHO, 70 per cent target was agreed at the global COVID-19 summit hosted by the United States of America on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly this week.
WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, stated this yesterday at the virtual press conference of
WHO Regional Office for Africa facilitated by APO Group.
She said the United States had pledged to share 500 million more COVID-19 vaccines to low-income countries over the next year, bringing its total pledges to more than 1.1 billion doses.
“The global COVID-19 summit was a dose of hope for Africa and we commend pledges to share more vaccines, save lives and build back better. It is the kind of international solidarity that will help to end the pandemic. This is about life and death for potentially millions of Africans so there is no time to waste in getting
these shipments moving,” she said
According to Moeti, COVAX Facility, the global platform to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, has been forced to slash planned deliveries to Africa by 25 per cent this year, due to global supply shortages and export bans.
“COVAX shipments are still coming into African countries – with 4 million doses received in the past week. However, only a third of the vaccines that wealthy countries pledged to share with Africa by the end of 2021 have been received.