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Over 36 million vaccinated in Africa, but Africa seeks alternatives to vaccine supply

The Africa Centre for Disease Control has verified that over 36 million people in Africa have gotten their COVID-19 vaccine.

However, Africa CDC Deputy Director, Dr Ahmed Ogwell, said that the figures fell way short of their intended target of 90 million by April.

Below 90 million target

“We had a target to vaccinate 90 million by April,” Dr Ogwell said, “So far, 36 million people have gotten their vaccine. We still have a lot of effort and intervention to put in place.”

Dr Ogwell said that seeking alternatives from COVAX was necessary, as COVAX could only meet 20 % of Africa’s population. Thus, since the continent was targeting 60% vaccination, they would meet the other 40% through bilateral agreements.

The response seemed to be a rejoinder to WHO Head, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, who said bilateral agreements risked leading to ‘vaccine inequity.’

Leading countries in Africa

Morocco continues to lead in Africa, having vaccinated 8.61 million people, representing about 11.3 % of its population. It continues, to this day, to be the only country in Africa to have passed 1 million vaccine doses. The other countries are still struggling with vaccine supply.

Nigeria is second, having issued over 964,000 doses, while Ghana comes in third, with over 681,000 doses given. Rwanda has provided over 350,000 doses of the vaccine, with Senegal having given more than 343,000.

Africa CDC head, John Nkengasong, said that the continent was facing a complicated vaccination process due to supply bottlenecks. He repeated India’s Serum Institute vaccine export suspension, saying it made it ‘very complicated’ for the vaccination process on the continent.

Meeting on way forward

The Africa CDC will meet today (Monday, April 12) and tomorrow (Tuesday, April 13) to discuss the capacity of the continent to manufacture its vaccine. The move would iron out the supply chain risks that the continent faces in the COVID-19 vaccine program.

Johnson & Johnson has become the first company to express interest in opening a vaccine manufacturing centre in Africa. The company wants to set a factory in South Africa, which would supply Africa will 400 million vaccines.

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