Vaccines are not yet part of Africa’s exit plan from the pandemic, as it is weeks or even months before the first doses begin arriving, health officials said Thursday after that the African Union (AU) secured 270 million doses for the continent.
Africa has not launched vaccinations yet and there are concerns that the more prosperous regions are gaining an unfair advantage in the global fight against COVID-19.
The second wave of coronavirus in Africa is infecting twice as many people per day as the first last year and has not reached its peak, said John Nkengasong, director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the UA in a virtual press conference.
On Wednesday, UA President South Africa said the vaccine doses will be supplied this year by Pfizer, AstraZeneca – through the Serum Institute of India – and Johnson & Johnson.
The 270 million injections, if given two per person, would only cover about 10% of the roughly 1.3 billion people in Africa. South Africa did not say when the first doses would arrive, but indicated that at least 50 million would be available between April and June.
These are in addition to those that the continent must receive within the framework of the COVAX initiative for the global distribution of vaccines, co-directed by the World Health Organization.
“We shouldn’t see vaccines as a magic bullet for now, it will take time for vaccines to be implemented so that we have herd immunity,” Nkengasong said.
Infections have exceeded 3.1 million, with more than 74,600 deaths during the course of the pandemic. (Edited in Spanish by Carlos Serrano)
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