‘Tragic’ that just over 25M vaccine doses administered in Africa: WHO chief

YAOUNDE, Cameroon (AA) – Africa has so far administered just over 25 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, or 1.5% of the doses given worldwide, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday.

“And this is tragic,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a meeting of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union on access to vaccines against the COVID-19 pandemic for the African continent.

“In the past two weeks, we are seeing some progress … with a good number of countries committing to share and equitable distribution of vaccines, but vaccine nationalism still holds us back, ” Tedros added.

He also said WHO is working to bring immediate solutions for the equitable distribution of vaccine doses.

“At the same time, we cannot let down our guard. What is happening now in many other parts of the world can also happen in Africa,” the WHO head said.

Tedros said the pandemic has demonstrated that Africa cannot rely solely on imports of vaccines from the rest of the world.

“We must build that capacity, not only for COVID-19 vaccines, but for other vaccines and medical products. But at the same time we have to focus on the immediate solution of vaccine sharing, as I said earlier, ” he added.

There are over 4.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases on the African continent with more than 4.2 million recoveries and 126,000 deaths, according to WHO figures.

COVID-19 vaccine shipments to African countries have slowed down in May due to “the reliance on India as one of the key manufacturers globally, and the devastating surge of cases India is dealing with, Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Africa Director Matshidiso Moeti said on Thursday.

The African continent was expecting 66 million COVID-19 vaccine doses through COVAX facility from February to May, but instead it has so far received only 18.2 million doses, according to the WHO.

Source: Anadolu Agency