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The African Union (AU) has secured 270 million provisional doses of Covid-19 vaccine for distribution on the continent. All doses will be used this year, promises current South African AU President Cyril Ramaphosa.
These doses are in addition to the 600 million doses already pledged but still not enough to immunize the entire region. There is concern that the world’s poorest countries are waiting much longer than rich countries to be vaccinated. Although the number of infections and the death rate are comparatively lower in most countries in Africa, the number of cases is on the rise again in some areas. Of particular concern is a new variant of Covid-19 in South Africa and accounts for most new cases.
“Through our own efforts, we have so far secured an interim commitment of 270 million vaccines from three major suppliers: Pfizer, AstraZeneca (through the Serum Institute of India) and Johnson & Johnson “, rejoices President Ramaphosa Wednesday. At least 50 million doses will be available” for the crucial period from April to June 2021, “he adds.
In addition, the region is awaiting around 600 million doses of Covax’s global effort to deliver vaccines to low-income countries. But officials are still awaiting details and are now “happy that we have alternatives.” Nicaise Ndembi, senior scientific advisor for the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told AP news agency. Ramaphosa maintains that officials are concerned that the doses of Covax released in the first half of 2021 will only be enough to vaccinate healthcare workers.
With a population of 1.3 billion people and each person needing two shots of the vaccine, Africa would need around 2.6 billion doses to be able to vaccinate everyone eventually. ”These efforts aim to complement Covax’s efforts, and to ensure that as many doses of vaccine as possible are available across Africa as soon as possible, “he said. Africa has recorded more than three million cases of Covid-19 and nearly 75,000 deaths.
In contrast, the United States has reported nearly 23 million infections and more than 383,000 deaths.There has been a global rush to buy vaccines, with wealthy countries accused of buying the vaccine. most of the supply.