Sunday, 07 March, 2021


Africa COVID-19 cases top 3 million, first wave peak surpassed

Covid-19: Africa secures about 300 million vaccine doses African Union secures about 300 million COVID-19 vaccines
Patty Aguilar | 15 January, 2021, 12:01

Data on the highly contagious COVID-19 variant identified in England do not suggest that vaccines will be less effective against it, while data on the South African variant should be available within weeks, a top British vaccines expert said.

The vaccines will be allocated on the continental platform the AU set up previous year to make it easier for Africa's 54 countries to pool their purchasing power and buy pandemic supplies in bulk.

"However, COVAX facility can only cover 20 percent of Africa's population, so it is really wonderful to see that the African Union's efforts to secure provisional 270 million doses by the end of 2021 are achieving success".

The report said; "From preliminary and ongoing investigations in South Africa, it is possible that the 501Y.V2 variant is more transmissible than variants circulating in South Africa previously".

The Africa CDC boss brushed aside concerns that lack of ultra-cold chain storage infrastructure would stop countries buying and using vaccines needing to be kept at extremely low temperatures - Pfizer's and Moderna's.

Making the call on Thursday, the World Health Organisation, WHO, Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, said revamped public health measures are ever more critical to avert a runaway surge in infections that could stretch health facilities to the breaking point.

Ramaphosa says from the beginning of pandemic, their focus as a continent has been on collaboration and collective effort.

President Ramaphosa said: "I wish to commend the members of the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, Afreximbank, Africa CDC and all those who have been working tirelessly to secure these vaccines for the people of Africa".

Until now, Africa had largely been counting on COVAX for its early vaccine supplies.

Canada has come under criticism from health advocacy groups for its decision to secure up to 414 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in advance orders - five times more than it needs for its population.

The first Covax vaccines are expected in the country only in the 2nd quarter of the year.

The new purchases with the doses from COVAX will provide Africa with just over half of the vaccine that it requires, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The country has more than 1.2 million cases including 35,000 deaths.

As COVID-19 cumulative cases in Africa top 3 million and daily case numbers exceed the first wave peak, the continent is now confronted with emerging variants of the virus.

"Even if the new variant is not more virulent, a virus that can spread more easily will put further strain on hospitals and health workers, who are in many cases already overstretched".

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