Nigeria, others to receive 90million doses of Covid-19 vaccine in Feb

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) Africa regional office has said Africa will receive nearly 90 million Covid-19 vaccine doses from COVAX in February 2021,

“COVAX has notified countries in Africa of the estimated dose allocation for the first phase of COVID-19 vaccine delivery,” WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti said during a briefing on the roll-out of vaccines in the continent.

“The global initiative led by the World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi the Vaccine Alliance and The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) aims to start shipping nearly 90 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to the continent in February, in what will be Africa’s largest-ever mass vaccination campaign.

“Africa has watched other regions start COVID-19 vaccination campaigns from the side-lines for too long.

“This planned roll-out is a critical first step to ensuring the continent gets equitable access to vaccines. We know no one will be safe until everyone is safe.”

WHO noted that the vaccines would come mainly from the AstraZeneca/Oxford AZD1222 vaccine. However, the rollout is subject to the vaccine being approved for emergency use by the WHO.

The review is expected to be received soon, the agency added.

“This announcement allows countries to fine-tune their planning for Covid-19 immunization campaigns. We urge African nations to ramp up readiness and finalize their national vaccine deployment plans. Regulatory processes, cold chain systems and distribution plans need to be in place to ensure vaccines are safely expedited from ports of entry to delivery. We can’t afford to waste a single dose,” said Dr Moeti.

These doses are targeted at vaccinating three per cent of the African population who are most in need of protection, including health workers and other vulnerable groups in the first half of 2021.

Also, about 320, 000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have been allocated to four nations – Cape Verde, Rwanda, South Africa and Tunisia. These countries are able to store and distribute the COVID-19 vaccines at minus 70 degrees Celsius, the agency said.

As COVID-19 vaccine production capacity increases, the WHO said its target is to vaccinate at least 20 per cent of Africans by providing up to 600 million doses by the end of the year.

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