WORLD Health Organisation (WHO) officials have warned that Africa is being left behind by the rest of humanity in the battled against the Covid-19 virus because the continent is struggling to get hold of vaccination doses.
Following the approval of several vaccines to treat the virus, nations worldwide have begun stockpiling doses and mass vaccinations programmes are underway. However, there has been virtually no activity across Africa as no country on the continent produces the vaccine and with prices rising in line with demand, procurement is now getting difficult.
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa, has warned that the continent is in danger of being left behind as prices spike due to competition in other regions. She stated that Guinea was the only low-income country on the continent to have received doses, with only 25 people vaccinated so far.
According to Dr Moeti, Seychelles is the only country on the continent where a national Covid-19 vaccination campaign has started. She added that the story was different in wealthier continents where the vaccines had been administered in 50 nations so far.
Dr Moeti said: “We first, not me first, is the only way to end the pandemic. Vaccine hoarding will only prolong the ordeal and delay Africa’s recovery.
“It is deeply unjust that the most vulnerable Africans are forced to wait for vaccines while lower-risk groups in rich countries are made safe. Health workers and vulnerable people in Africa need urgent access to safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines.”