Africa urgently needs 20mn vax doses for 2nd jabs: WHO


Africa urgently needs 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to make sure everyone who has had a first jab can get a second within the recommended eight to 12-week window, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

Another 200 million doses of any coronavirus vaccine are needed to get 10 per cent of the continent’s population vaccinated by September, dpa news agency on Friday quoted the WHO as saying.

WHO data shows 28 million doses from various manufacturers have reached Africa, which corresponds to fewer than two doses per 100 people.

Meanwhile, 1.5 billion coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered globally.

“Africa needs vaccines now. Any pause in our vaccination campaigns will lead to lost lives and lost hope,” Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s Regional Director for Africa said.

It is too early to say whether Africa is on the cusp of a third wave, she said.

“However, we know that cases are rising, and the clock is ticking so we urgently appeal to countries that have vaccinated their high-risk groups to speed up the dose-sharing to fully protect the most vulnerable people.”

France is the first country to make doses available from its domestic supply, and has donated more than 31,000 doses to Mauritania, according to the WHO.

It has also pledged to share half a million more doses with six African nations in the coming weeks.

The European Union and its member states have agreed to give more than 100 million doses to low-income countries by the end of 2021, and the US has also agreed to make 80 million doses available for low-income countries, according to the WHO.