Africa needs at least 20 mln AstraZeneca vaccine doses in the next six weeks, WHO says


Africa needs at least 20 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in the next six weeks in order to enable the administration of second doses to people who received their first jabs, to ensure they complete their vaccination within the recommended 8—12-week interval.

According to the World Health Organization, the continent also needs another 200 million doses of any WHO Emergency Use Listed COVID-19 vaccine to enable the vaccination of 10% of its population by September 2021.

The latest report follows calls by the WHO Director-General to developed countries to share vaccines to be used on Africa's elderly and high-risk groups before inoculating their young.

The WHO chief has been vocal in a push for universal vaccination as the best way to contain the pandemic.

According to the health agency, 28 million COVID-19 doses of different vaccines have been administered in Africa, which represents less than two doses administered per 100 people in Africa.

Globally, 1.5 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered.

"As supplies dry up, dose-sharing is an urgent, critical and short-term solution to ensuring that Africans at the greatest risk of COVID-19 get the much-needed protection," said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. "Africa needs vaccines now. Any pause in our vaccination campaigns will lead to lost lives and lost hope."

African countries that have been unable to use all their vaccines have been reported to share them across the continent.

But the WHO warns that despite this preventing vaccine wastage, redistributing doses is costly and countries must roll out all available doses as soon as possible.

The agency noted that Africa needs to boost its manufacturing capacity for vaccines in the long term.

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