WHO reiterates importance of COVID vaccine equity

The WHO's target is to have 40% of all countries' population vaccinated by the end of this year and 70% of the world's population by the middle of next year.

FILE: World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on 3 July 2020 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - The World Health Organization has again stressed the importance of global vaccine equity - in Africa in particular - to ensure an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The global health body on Wednesday said more than 5.7 billion coronavirus vaccine doses had so far been administered worldwide but only 2% of those had been on the African continent.

Their target is to have 40% of all countries' population vaccinated by the end of this year and 70% of the world's population by the middle of next year.

Who director general Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus has once again made a call for more coronavirus vaccine doses for Africa.

“That’s not because African countries don’t have the capacity or experience to roll out vaccines, it’s because they have been left behind by the rest of the world.”

The COVID-19 vaccines global access programme - or Covax - has so far shipped more than 260 million doses to 141 developing countries.

WHO regional director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti said countries on the continent did have the capacity to roll out vaccines.

“Intense work is going on to adapt delivery strategies that multiple vaccines that countries are receiving, to use technology for registration and tracking systems, to mobilise and prepare vaccinators. Most importantly to mobilise the people and address vaccine hesitancy and misinformation.”

Many richer countries have been accused of hoarding vaccines.

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