Africa will receive nearly 90 million vaccines from COVAX by February
Africa is to receive nearly 90 million Covid-19 vaccines in February in what will be the continent’s “largest ever mass vaccination campaign,” the World Health Organization announced in a statement on Thursday.
In the statement, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said: “Africa has watched other regions start COVID-19 vaccination campaigns from the side-lines for too long. This planned roll-out is a critical first step to ensuring the continent gets equitable access to vaccines.”
“We know no one will be safe until everyone is safe,” he added.
Most vaccines will be from the AstraZeneca/Oxford AZD1222 vaccine and subject to the vaccine being listed for emergency use by WHO. The WHO is currently reviewing the vaccine and the outcome of the review is expected soon.
The statement adds that around 320,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine — which has received WHO Emergency Use Listing — have been allocated to four African countries — Cabo Verde, Rwanda, South Africa and Tunisia, which are able to store and distribute doses at minus 70 degrees Celsius.
The initial phase of 90 million doses will support countries to immunize 3% of the African population most in need of protection, including health workers and other vulnerable groups in the first half of 2021, the statement adds.
The WHO says it aims to vaccinate at least 20% of Africans by providing up to 600 million doses by the end of 2021, according to the press release.