The United States will ramp up its coronavirus vaccine support for 11 African countries, officials said on Thursday, in an effort to prevent future variants and ramp up vaccination efforts in the little continent. most vaccinated.
Through the Global Vaccine Access Initiative, or Global Vax, the Biden administration will provide “active financial, technical, and diplomatic support” to African nations that have recently demonstrated viability. potential to accelerate the use of vaccines, according to a statement from the United States Agency for International Development.
The agency said it selected a group of countries in sub-Saharan Africa – Angola, Eswatini, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Lesotho, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia – based on the burden of Covid. -19 to their populations, the capacity of the health system, the willingness to administer vaccine doses rapidly in the absence of supply constraints, and the ability to effectively deploy additional investments. supplement of the United States.
The Global Vax Initiative started in December to help countries, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa, achieve more of their goals. Even as African countries have received more vaccines, many of them have struggled to distribute them because of the lack of the super-cold freezers needed to keep doses from expiring and because of the difficulty. in transporting them to remote towns and villages. Hesitancy about vaccines and misinformation have also raised problems.
With additional financial support from the Biden administration, these 11 African countries will receive “enhanced US government engagement and funding to rapidly assess needs and increase immunization coverage, including including support from experts in the United States and in the field,” the statement said. .
The latest support from the US government comes as the World Health Organization begins sending 42 experts to at least 18 African countries facing challenges in administering vaccines. Over three to six months – and in some cases up to a year – these experts will help countries such as Burundi, Ethiopia and Mozambique in financial planning, managing vaccine stocks and improving public health measures.
Currently, only 12% of Africa’s population – or 168 million people – is fully vaccinated, according to WHO, with Africa accounting for just 3.5% of the 10.3 billion doses administered globally.
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An average of six million people are being vaccinated in Africa every week, but health officials say need increase to around 36 million if the continent meets its universal target of immunizing 70% of the population of all countries by the middle of this year.
Disparities in access to vaccines have been a contentious issue over the past year, as African leaders and public health officials accuse rich countries of stockpiling doses and creating making “mockery about vaccine equity” by administering booster shots. The debate over vaccine equity, production and distribution was in the spotlight this week when European and African leaders convened in Brussels.
On Friday, WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that six African countries – Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia – will be the first to have access to the technology needed to produce mRNA vaccines.
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa said he welcomed the pledge.
“This is an initiative that allows us to manufacture our own vaccines, and for us, that is very important,” Mr. Ramaphosa said in a statement. “That means mutual respect, mutual recognition of what we can bring to the party, investment in our economy, investment in infrastructure and in many ways, bring to the continent”.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/18/world/africa/biden-africa-vaccine-aid.html US increases vaccine aid to 11 African countries