Africa seeks ‘universal capacity’ to produce vaccines.

Africa seeks ‘universal capacity to produce vaccines because the vaccines aren’t coming in fast enough to serve the masses.

The current director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (ACDCP) says that as Africa is trying to vaccinate 60% of its 1.3 billion people as soon as possible, the continent must improve its capacity to produce COVID-19 vaccines.

Africa struggles in its efforts to vaccinate 60% of its 1.3 billion people as quickly as possible. The continent must work on improving its ability to produce its very own COVID-19 vaccines. The director of the ACDCP said on Thursday, March 11.

As the deliveries of vaccine doses come in, several African countries have started giving shots to launch mass vaccination campaigns. The president of Malawi received a shot on Thursday, and South Africa is vaccinating its front-line medical practitioners today.

 African countries are getting vaccines from the international COVAX scheme and donors who produce vaccine-like India, China, and Russia. But much more significant volumes of doses are required for the massive campaign to inoculate more than half of the continent’s people.

Health experts say that Africa’s dependence on imported vaccines may well hinder the inoculation drive. 

 In a press briefing, Africas CDC director Dr. John Nkengasong said that at least five African countries might have what it takes to produce vaccines. Reference was made to South Africa, Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt.

 According to Nkengasong, on April 12 there will be a meeting between the African Union and outside partners to create a “roadmap” for improving African capacity to produce COVID-19 vaccines eventually, 

“It is vital for us to have that,” he said, referring to vaccine security.

The head of the European Union delegation to the African Union, Birgitte Markussen spoke further. She told the briefing that “they will put in the effort to support local production” of vaccines. She said solidary is essential “to make sure no one gets left behind” in global efforts to end the pandemic.

“As more doses are delivered, the real task will be to ensure fast deployment of vaccines and related supplies of equipment in good condition. In addition to the proper quantities, and also in the correct areas,” she said.

She further added that “We cannot say that we are safe until everyone is safe.”

Nkengasong also added that not less than 22 of Africa’s 54 countries had received COVID-19 vaccines via the COVAX initiative. The initiative is to ensure that low- and middle-income countries have access to the vaccines. The shipments start from a few thousand doses to millions delivered to countries such as Nigeria to Uganda.

Vaccine arrivals in the past days left him happy and feeling there is hope, said Nkengasong.

About 600 million doses are expected to be sent to Africa from COVAX, but unfortunately, the facility has faced delays and reduced supply.

The goal in Africa is that countries should vaccinate about 20% of their population with the COVAX doses as this year comes to an end. It is an ambitious target, but the continent will be far from the 60% many says is required to reach “herd immunity.” When enough people are protected through vaccination to make it hard for a virus to continue to spread.

Africa has reported over 3.9 million cases of COVID-19, in addition to more than 106,000 deaths. South Africa is the country that was most affected, with over 1.5 million cases and 51,000 deaths.

Nkengasong further stated that despite the adverse effects, Africa saw a 9% decrease in new cases and a 16% average reduction in the number of deaths over the past four weeks.

Since many countries in Africa do not have the means to track death data. It is uncertain how many excess deaths have occurred across the continent since the pandemic began.

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