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,” a World Health Organization (WHO) regional director said on Thursday.
Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional director for Africa, made the comments during a media briefing on financing COVID-19 vaccines in Africa.
She said there is a great interest and push for COVID-19 vaccine “manufacturing on the African continent, and this is a promising medium- to long-term solution.”
The African continent was expecting 66 million COVID-19 vaccine doses through COVAX facility from February to May, but instead has so far received only 18.2 million doses, according to Moeti.
“When we look at access to the vaccines, we see great inequalities across countries – Seychelles is one of the most vaccinated countries in the world, with 67% of the population having received at least one dose.
“In 14 African countries less than 1% of the population has received a single dose and in four countries vaccination has not started,” she said.
“While in Africa, on average fewer than two in 100 people have received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, in some high-income countries more than eight out of 10 people have been reached.”
Moeti also noted that international solidarity is crucial in supporting the vaccine rollout. “We welcome the pledge by the United States this week to share 80 million doses with other countries.”
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.
Source: Anadolu Agency