The UN health agency’s regional director for Africa said a break in the continent’s vaccination campaign would lead to “losing lives and losing hope”.
Africa needs at least 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine within six weeks if those who have received the first vaccine are to get the second in time, the WHO said on Thursday.
“Africa needs vaccines now,” Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization’s regional director for Africa, said in a statement.
“Any pause in our vaccination campaigns will lead to lost lives and loss of hope.”
The WHO statement stressed the importance of respecting the recommended interval of eight to 12 weeks between doses to ensure the prolonged protection rate of 81% of the recipient.
“In addition to this urgent need, another 200 million doses of any COVID-19 vaccine listed for WHO emergency use are needed for the continent to vaccinate 10 percent of its population by September 2021. “, adds the communiqué.
– Regió africana de l’OMS (@WHOAFRO) 27 de maig de 2021
El 26 de maig, Àfrica havia registrat més de 4,7 milions de casos de coronavirus amb gairebé 130.000 morts atribuïdes al virus.
Per separat, el cap dels Centres d’Àfrica per al Control i la Prevenció de Malalties (Africa CDC) va fer una crida a la comunitat internacional perquè proporcionés el nombre requerit de dosis de vacuna al continent considerant que es tracta d’un “problema de seguretat col·lectiva”.
“No guanyem la batalla de vacunació a l’Àfrica”, va dir dijous el director de CDC d’Àfrica, John Nkengasong, durant una sessió informativa setmanal als mitjans a la capital etíop d’Addis Abeba.
“S’han adquirit quaranta-tres milions de dosis de vacunes, [of which] 23 million doses have been administered, ”he said.
Vaccination campaigns in Africa to combat COVID-19 they also face delays due to the export ban imposed by India, the main supplier of the AstraZeneca vaccine to COVAX, the UN-backed scheme that aims to deliver more than two billion doses to 92 of the world’s poorest countries this year. India has halted vaccine exports as it faces a devastating resurgence of the disease.
“Interest of all countries”: French Prime Minister
Besides, French President Emmanuel Macron said that sending COVID-19 vaccines to Africa was not only a moral duty, but also in Europe and the interest of the world, to prevent the emergence of new variants of virus.
Speaking during a trip to Rwanda, Macron said France was on track to deliver 30 million doses of COVID-19 vaccination to Africa by the end of the year, that Germany would also deliver 30 million doses and that the European Union would would deliver more than 100 million doses in Africa this year.
“Helping to vaccinate Africa … is, first and foremost, a duty of solidarity, and it is also simply … in the interest of all European countries, of all countries in the world,” Macron said during a visit to a vaccination center in Kigali apart from a state visit.
He said that if not all countries received vaccines, the virus will continue to spread and develop new variants.