Africa may have to wait until the second quarter of 2021 to introduce vaccines, John Nkengasong, director of the CDC for Africa, told the Associated Press on Thursday.
Why it matters: “I have seen how neglected Africa is when medicines are available,” Nkengasong said.
- Africa surpassed two million confirmed cases last week. The continent will need about 1.5 billion doses of vaccines, Nkengasong said at a news conference, but the World Health Organization (WHO) says only 24% of the 47 sub-Saharan African countries have resources and funding plans.
The big picture: The African CDC has explored vaccination options with Russia and China, among others. The goal is to vaccinate 20% of the population by the end of 2021, Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s African chief, said in a special briefing.
- Vaccination of priority populations alone will require more than $ 5 billion – even without the cost of transportation, according to the WHO.
- Refrigerated storage required to maintain vaccines is another challenge.
- Meanwhile, authorities have circulated 2.7 million antigen tests for faster and easier testing, which Nkengasong says is “perhaps a game changer”.