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WHO calls for equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Africa

World Health Organisation (WHO) has called for a more equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution and the strengthening local production in Africa to meet demand.

The supply of COVID-19 vaccine has begun to slow down and initial batches are nearly exhausted in some African countries. So far only 7.7 million vaccine doses have been administered mainly to high-risk population groups.

WHO warned that a critical proportion of the African population targeted in the initial phase of the vaccination campaign may remain unvaccinated for months to come due to global supply chain constraints. In 10 African countries, vaccines have not yet arrived.

“A slowdown in vaccine supply could prolong the painful journey to end this pandemic for millions of people in Africa,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa. “While some high-income countries are seeking to vaccinate their entire populations, many in Africa are struggling to sufficiently cover even their high-risk groups. Acquiring COVID-19 vaccines must not be a competition. Fair access will benefit all and not just some of us.”

How is the Covid-19 vaccine being distributed to Africa?

WHO said that 44 African countries have received vaccines through the COVAX Facility or through donations and bilateral agreements, and 32 of them have begun vaccinations.

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COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO. Its aim is to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world.

Since 24th February 2021, the COVAX Facility has supplied nearly 16 million doses to 28 countries.

In Ghana 470 000 doses have been administered while in Rwanda 345 000 doses have been administered. In Angola, health workers account for more than half of those vaccinated.

COVAX Facility aims to deliver enough vaccine doses to immunize at least 20% of Africa’s population in 2021.