Africa faces aggressive third wave as Covid-19 vaccine supply dries up

Nairobi, Jun 10 (EFE).- Nine in 10 African countries are set to miss the target of vaccinating 10% of their population against Covid-19, as an aggressive third wave looms over the continent, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

With close to five million Covid-19 cases registered across the African Union, the spread of virulent variants and a shortage in vaccines is dangerously exposing vulnerable groups to the pandemic.

“You can clearly see that the variant that was identified in India is getting a hold on the continent. We continue to analyse the situation and see whether there is correlation between the variant and the third wave,” Africa Centers for Disease Prevention and Control director John Nkengasong said.

“With vaccine stocks and shipments drying up, the continent’s vaccination coverage for the first dose remains stuck at 2% and at about 1% in sub-saharan Africa,” WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti said Thursday.

The African Union has received only 50 million Covid-19 vaccine doses for a population of more than 1 billion. It accounts for less than 1% of the 2.1 billion doses administered globally.

“Vaccines have been proven to prevent cases and deaths, so countries that can, must urgently share COVID-19 vaccines,” Moeti added.

COVAX, the global initiative to help developing countries gain access to vaccines, has committed to sending 200 million doses this year.

But the WHO has urged to ship at least 225 million doses to the continent by September to reach the 10% target.

The United States Thursday announced it would donate 500 million Pfizer/BioNTech doses to lower income countries. EFE


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