Africa will get a quarter less vaccines than it was expecting this year

Africa will receive a quarter less covid-19 vaccines than it was expecting by the end of the year, compromising vaccination targets for the continent, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO Africa Director Matshidiso Moeti shared this estimate with journalists following the announcement by the African Union Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) that just over 3% of people across the African continent have been fully vaccinated, a coverage that drops to 1.7% in sub-Saharan Africa, according to WHO.

African health officials were dismayed by Wednesday's announcement that the global COVAX effort to distribute vaccines to low- and middle-income countries is again cutting its delivery forecast.

This revision, Moeti told reporters, is "partly due to the prioritization of bilateral agreements over international solidarity."

The challenges of COVAX, along with export controls on vaccine doses and the introduction of booster vaccines by some countries, "really means that in the end there has to be a calculation, a projection that we will receive 25% fewer doses than we were anticipating before the end of the year," he said.

Moeti noted that although COVAX supplied more than five million doses of vaccine to African countries last week, "three times as many doses have been thrown away in the United States alone" since March.

"Every dose is precious," Moeti said, adding that high-income countries have pledged to share one billion doses worldwide, but so far only 120 million have been released.

"If companies and countries prioritized vaccine equity, this pandemic would be quickly overcome," he added.

The WHO believes that the goal of vaccinating 10% of people in Africa by the end of this month is being missed. The goal is to vaccinate 40% by the end of the year.

The Africa CDC says 145 million doses of vaccine were purchased across the continent from 1.3 billion people, and 111 million of them (77%) were administered.

Many more are needed and the announcement of booster vaccines by some wealthier countries, including the United States, has also caused alarm.

The WHO director-general called on Wednesday for a delay in the administration of booster vaccines until the end of the year in order to combat the severe vaccine inequality.

African countries have recently seen a sharp resurgence of cases driven by the delta variant, but the WHO director for Africa reported a decrease of nearly 25% in new cases last week, "the sharpest drop in eight weeks since the peak in July."

Lusa Agency

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