Africa requires 200 million doses of any World Health Organization emergency use listed COVID-19 vaccine to inoculate 10 percent of its population by September, according to the World Health Organization.
This is in addition to at least 20 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine needed in the next six weeks to enable the continent to give second shots to all those who received first doses.
The WHO said a single dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine gives around 70 percent protection for at least 12 weeks, while a full course within that period gives 81 percent protection for an extended period.
Speaking at a virtual News briefing on Thursday, Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional director for Africa, said the continent needs vaccines urgently and that any pause in its vaccination campaigns will lead to lost lives and lost hope.
“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,” Moeti said.
“It’s too soon to tell if Africa is on the cusp of a third wave. However, we know that cases are rising, and the clock is ticking so we urgently appeal to countries that have vaccinated their high-risk groups to speed up the dose-sharing to fully protect the most vulnerable people.”
Moeti said the WHO is helping African countries to lay the groundwork to build up vaccine manufacturing capacity.
She said more than 100 WHO member states, including 54 African countries, are co-sponsoring a draft resolution that aims to strengthen local production, promote technology transfers and innovation as well as intellectual property waivers.
To date, Africa has administered 28 million COVID-19 doses, representing less than 2 doses administered per 100 people in the continent. Globally, 1.5 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered.