Vaccination financing gap mounts to $23 bln, Africa below 10% of vaccine target: IMF

Doaa A.Moneim , Wednesday 12 Jan 2022

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated the financing gap of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) at $23 billion, urging the international community to close the gap for the sake of boosting recovery from the pandemic, especially in Africa.

A sizable portion of this effort is dedicated to Africa, IMF’s Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Wednesday.

She also unveiled that vaccination rates in the continent are still below 10 percent, adding that only seven African countries reached the 40 percent vaccination target in 2021.

In 2021, the IMF — in collaboration with other global institutions — launched a plan to end the pandemic by vaccinating 40 percent of the population of all countries by the end of 2021 and 70 percent by mid 2022, including Egypt.

“Africa remains reliant on COVID-19 vaccine imports and donations. The most immediate priority must be to guarantee predictability in vaccine deliveries, including through COVAX and the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT),” Georgieva pointed out.

She added that funding will be also necessary for Africa’s health systems to be able to vaccinate the local population swiftly as new supplies arrive, including through outreach efforts to reiterate the importance of vaccines and reduce misinformation and vaccine hesitancy. 

Moreover, Georgieva stressed that Africa still requires access to tests, treatments, and protective equipment.

In this respect, she referred to the Institut Pasteur in Dakar — the world-class institute that focuses on fighting against infectious diseases in the continent — as one of the promising tools to be used to counter the pandemic.

“It is critical the region has the tools and the necessary funds to build a capacity to produce and manufacture vaccines. As Africa faces a fourth wave of infections, the emergence of the Omicron variant is yet another reminder that the region’s ability to equip itself to fight this pandemic and address future healthcare needs has global implications,” Georgieva warned.

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