WHO Says Africa Needs at Least 20 Million Does of Coronavirus Vaccine in Next Six Weeks

Medical officer Dr. Emmanuel Addipa-Adapoe, 42, receives the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine during the vaccination campaign at the Ridge Hospital in Accra, Ghana March 2, 2021. REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko

Africa needs at least 20 million doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine within the next six weeks to get the second round of shots to people who’ve already received the first, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

Data shows that one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is 70% effective for at least 12 weeks, but the second dose provides 81% protection against Covid for an extended time, according to the WHO. Antibodies have been observed in the body up to six months after one dose.

For the continent to vaccinate at least 10% of its population by September, another 200 million doses of any cleared Covid-19 vaccine is urgently needed, the WHO said.

As of Thursday, 28 million Covid-19 doses from different drugmakers have been administered in Africa, which has almost 1.4 billion people, representing less than two doses per 100 people on the continent. By comparison, more than 165 million people in the U.S. have received at least one vaccine dose, equivalent to almost half of the country’s population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Africa needs vaccines now. Any pause in our vaccination campaigns will lead to lost lives and lost hope,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa. “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.”

France pledged to share half a million doses with six African countries in the next few weeks, and has already sent 31,000 doses to Mauritania. Another 74,400 doses are set to be shipped out soon, the WHO said.

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SOURCE: CNBC, Rich Mendez

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