225 million coronavirus vaccines are urgently necessary for African nations to receive — in order to prevent nearly 90% of countries on the continent from missing the target of vaccinating a tenth of their respective populations by September.
A serious warning issued on Thursday in an online brief by the World Health Organisation’s director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti.
“As Africa heads toward a sad milestone, and a third wave looms, many African lives are at stake. However, with vaccine stocks and shipments drying up, the continents’ vaccination coverage for the first dose remains stuck at around 2%, and about 1% in sub-Saharan Africa.
“COVID-19 cases on the African continent will soon pass the 5 million mark, and this virus has already claimed 133,000 African lives. In the past seven days, 88,000 cases were reported, an increase of 19% over the previous week.
Less than 1% of the over 2.1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses administered globally were received by Africans — with just one in 50 of the continent’s nearly 1.3 billion people having received the jab.
Vaccine deliveries to Africa took a blow– due in part to lack of supplies from India — still navigating a devastating wave from the delta variant.
Nevertheless, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, believes that all hope is not lost.
“The US President Biden’s plan to purchase and donate half a billion Pfizer vaccines to 92 low- and lower-middle-income countries and the African Union is a monumental step forward. This comes as we see other countries such as France also making tangible deliveries via Covax, so the tide is starting to turn.”
Only seven African countries will meet the September deadline — unless this global push for vaccine availability makes a positive impact.