NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) – A senior African health official said on Thursday he wanted to believe India would lift restrictions on COVID-19 vaccine exports as soon as possible, warning that “India is not an island”. :
Africa on Nkengasong, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Africa, said that 1.3 billion people on the African continent do not know when the second doses of major vaccines will arrive. India, a major producer of vaccines, is the main supplier of the UN-sponsored COVAX initiative, which aims to deliver photos to the world’s poorest countries.
“If you finish vaccinating your people before Africa or other parts of the world, you have not done yourself any justice, because there will be options that will disrupt your own vaccination efforts,” Nkengasong told a weekly news briefing.
He said the uncertainty surrounding the arrival of the second tranche was putting the African continent in a “very difficult situation”. Some countries have already consumed their initial doses of vaccines, including Ghana and Rwanda, he said.
Nkengasong stressed that people should not worry about delayed second doses now, but added that “we strongly recommend that you use the vaccine before the first expiration date,” although he said the Serum Institute had extended it.
Richard Mihigon, WHO vaccine in Africa, told the Associated Press that “COVAX is in intensive discussions with the Government of India to maintain some supplies in April and resume deliveries in May in June.” However, for those second doses expected in May-June, “we do not have a clear indication of when doses will be resumed and how many doses will be released.”
Mihigo said: “We have seen positive signs that the remaining African countries for which pre-shipments have been suspended will receive pre-doses of COVAX within the next week.”
African governments were already worried about stockpiles of vaccines as the world’s richest countries began to receive large doses. Mihigo said only one in 500 doses in the world was given in low-income countries.
African countries now have increasing uncertainty over the two major vaccines available for the continent: AstraZeneca և Johnson & Johnson.
This week, South Africa stopped using the son onson և John onson vaccine due to preliminary reports of rare blood clots, leaving the country with the highest number of infections in Africa without a single shot. In February, it canceled the AstraZeneca vaccine for healthcare workers because a preliminary test showed that it provided minimal protection against mild to moderate COVID-19 cases due to its prevalence.
African officials plan to vaccinate some 750 million people across the continent over the next two years. So far, only 14 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in 54 countries.
More than 34 million doses of the vaccine have been purchased, and 32 countries have received them from COVAX.
Africa reported 4.3 million deaths from coronavirus infections – 2.7%, which is higher than the world average of 2.2%. There was a 2% drop in new cases last week.
Virus variants remain a concern. According to Nkengasong, 19 African countries reported the first version found in Britain, and 18 – the first version found in South Africa.
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