The World Health Organization (WHO) Head stated on Saturday at a meeting of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union on vaccine access to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic that so far just over 25 million coronavirus vaccines or 1.5% of doses administered worldwide have been in Africa.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general. addressed the assembled.
"Today I'm calling on member States to support a massive push to vaccinate at least 10% of the population of every country by September and a drive to December to achieve our goal of vaccinating at least 30% by the end of the year."
COVID-19 vaccine shipments to African countries have slowed down in May due to “the reliance on India as one of the key manufacturers globally, and the devastating surge of cases India is dealing with, Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Africa Director Matshidiso Moeti said on Thursday.
The African continent was expecting 66 million COVID-19 vaccine doses through COVAX facility from February to May, but instead, it has so far received only 18.2 million doses, according to the WHO.
The African continent sees more than 4.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases -- with 4.2 million recoveries and 126,000 deaths, according to WHO figures.
A relatively good report card -- whose numbers have nevertheless taken a toll on African health workers.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus continued:
"For almost 18 months, health and care workers all over the world have stood in the breach between life and death.
"Many have themselves become infected, and while reporting is scant, we estimate that at least 115,000 health and care workers have paid the ultimate price in the service of others."
"We estimate that at least 115,000 health and care workers have paid the ultimate price in the service for others."
The director-general added that the health body is working to bring immediate solutions for the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
"In the past two weeks, we are seeing some progress … with a good number of countries committing to share and equitable distribution of vaccines, but vaccine nationalism still holds us back.
“At the same time, we cannot let down our guard. What is happening now in many other parts of the world can also happen in Africa." the WHO head said.
The WHO head also added that the pandemic has demonstrated that Africa cannot rely solely on imports of vaccines from the rest of the world.
"We must build that capacity, not only for COVID-19 vaccines but for other vaccines and medical products. But at the same time, we have to focus on the immediate solution of vaccine sharing, as I said earlier."