Less than 2% of the 690 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered to date globally have been in Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO) office said on Thursday.
The African countries started to receive vaccines only five weeks ago and in small quantities.
“Although progress is being made, many African countries have barely moved beyond the starting line. Limited stocks and supply bottlenecks are putting COVID-19 vaccines out of reach of many people in this region,” Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional director for Africa, said during a virtual news conference.
“Fair access to vaccines must be a reality if we are to collectively make a dent on this pandemic,” she added.
Some 45 African countries have received COVID-19 vaccines, 43 of them have begun vaccinations, and nearly 13 million of the 31.6 million doses delivered so far have been administered, according to the WHO.
Despite supply challenges, Moeti said COVAX deliveries are expected in Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Niger, Cameroon, and Comoros in the coming week.
“Africa is already playing COVID-19 vaccination catch-up, and the gap is widening. While we acknowledge the immense burden placed by the global demand for vaccines, inequity can only worsen scarcity,” Moeti warned.
She said manufacturers along with the WHO, Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, African countries, development partners, and the African Vaccine Manufacturing Initiative are working hard to sustainably scale up COVID-19 vaccine production, “but this cannot be achieved overnight.”
At least 114,000 COVID-19 patients have died, while more than 4.3 million cases have been registered across the continent.
Kenya is experiencing a third wave and the pandemic is showing an upward trend in 14 other African countries, including Ethiopia, Eritrea, Mali, Rwanda, and Tunisia, according to the WHO.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.