Shipment of Covid-19 vaccine on Thursday, September 23, 2021. Photo by WHO Regional Office for Africa
COVID-19 vaccine shipments to Africa must rise by over seven times from around 20 million per month to 150 million each month on average if the continent is to fully vaccinate 70% of its people by September 2022, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.
The 70% target was agreed at the global COVID-19 summit hosted by the United States of America on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly this week.
At the summit, the United States pledged to share 500 million more COVID-19 vaccines to low-income countries over the next year, bringing its total pledges to more than 1.1 billion doses.
“The global COVID-19 summit was a dose of hope for Africa and we commend pledges to share more vaccines, save lives and build back better. It is the kind of international solidarity that will help to end the pandemic.
This is about life and death for potentially millions of Africans so there is no time to waste in getting these shipments moving,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa.
“Actions speak far louder than words and African countries need clear delivery dates so they can plan properly. We also need strong structures set up to ensure that all promises made are promises kept,” said Dr Moeti.
“Health workers, services and communities can and should use this time to regroup and prepare for the next wave. With end-of-year travel and festive celebrations fast approaching, fresh increases in cases should be expected in the coming months.
Without widespread vaccination and other preventive measures, the continent’s fourth wave is likely to be the most brutal yet,” said Dr Moeti.