WHO: COVID-19 vaccines running out in poorer nations

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for an end to vaccine hoarding by wealthier countries on Monday

A large number of poorer countries receiving COVID-19 vaccines through a global sharing scheme do not have enough doses to continue programmes, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.

 Dr Bruce Aylward, WHO senior adviser said the Covax programme had delivered 90 million doses to 131 countries. But he said this was nowhere near enough to protect populations from a virus still spreading worldwide. The shortages come as some nations in Africa see a third wave of infections.

On Monday, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa called for an end to vaccine hoarding by wealthier countries as his government scrambled to curb a steep rise in cases. On a continental level, only 40 million doses have been administered so far in Africa – less than 2% of the population, Ramaphosa said.

To address this, he said his government was working with Covax to create a regional hub to produce more vaccines in South Africa. Covax was created last year to ensure COVID-19 doses were made available around the world, with richer countries subsidizing costs for poorer nations.

Africa is in the middle of a full-blown third COVID wave and there is need for more vaccination, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said. The total infections have crossed the five million mark and at least seven African countries have run out of vaccines.

Africa is in full-blown third COVID wave

“Africa needs millions more doses here and now,” WHO’s Africa Regional Director Matshidiso Moeti said.

South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia and Egypt have recorded the most virus cases in the continent.

Uganda and Namibia are experiencing a deadly third wave, with dozens of fatalities recorded daily. A total of 136,030 people have succumbed to the virus in different African countries, according to WHO.

The Delta variant is in 14 African countries while the Beta variant, first detected in South Africa, is in 25 countries.

The WHO says there’s no clear timeline on when more vaccines will be available but there is an urgent need for them.

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