COVID-19 vaccine exports to Africa must increase sevenfold, from roughly 20 million per month to 150 million per month, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
During a virtual news conference on Thursday, WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, stated this.
According to him, an increase is required if the continent is to reach its goal of fully vaccinating 70% of its population by September 2022.
The 70% objective was agreed upon at the worldwide COVID-19 meeting, which was held by the United States of America on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly this week, according to Moeti.
According to her, the US agreed during the meeting to provide 500 million extra COVID-19 vaccinations to low-income countries between now and 2021, bringing the total number of doses pledged to over 1.1 billion.
“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 potential millions of Africans, so there is no time to waste in getting these shipments moving,’’ she said
Due to worldwide supply limitations and export bans, the COVAX Facility, the global platform to provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, was obliged to cut anticipated delivery to Africa by 25% in 2021, according to Moeti.
“COVAX shipments are still coming into African countries with four million doses received in the past week”.
“However, only a third of the vaccines that wealthy countries pledged to share with Africa by the end of 2021 has been received. 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,” she said.
WHO, she claims, has aided 18 African nations in undertaking intra-action evaluations, which look at all elements of their immunization programs and make recommendations.
According to the evaluations, vaccine supply security and delivery unpredictability have been a key hurdle for many African countries. The evaluations indicate that vaccine supply and delivery uncertainty have been a major concern for many African nations.
In the week leading up to September 19, she claimed, although Africa’s third wave was easing, 108, 000 new cases and almost 3,000 deaths were reported.
COVID-19 cases have now been detected in approximately 8.2 million people across Africa, according to Moeti.
She claimed to have discovered the Delta variation in 38 African countries. The Alpha variety was found in 45 nations, while the Beta variation was found in 40.
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,’’ Moeti said.
WHO’s Programme Director for Universal Health Coverage and Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases, Dr Benido Impouma asked the continent to look at other factors that could be harming the sector.
Africa, according to Impouma, should take advantage of the current momentum on the global drive to ensure that the continent’s immunization rate may be accelerated.
“We will be closely working with our donors and partners to ensure that more doses can bridge the gaps of countries,’’ he said.
“The continent should focus on three facts such as knowing that there were quite several other health emergencies that were going on in the region which would need attention”.
“So our member states and partners should be closely working together to ensure that while responding to COVID-19, we should also look at what is happening in other health areas”.
Impouna also suggested that the continent looks into the issue of healthcare personnel. According to him, healthcare staff must receive everything they need in terms of Palliative Performance Scale (PPS) training, tools, and information that will help them perform better and save lives.