WEDNESDAY, Sept. 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- In Africa, only 4 percent of people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Leaders had once hoped to have 60 percent of people living on the continent vaccinated this year. That now appears unlikely. The World Health Organization and its partners said they do hope to provide African countries with 30 percent of the vaccines the continent needs by February, the Associated Press reported.
Most of the 5.7 billion vaccine doses administered globally so far have been in just 10 wealthy countries, as the U.N.-backed COVAX initiative has missed all of its targets. COVAX is now begging rich countries to share their vaccine doses, the AP said. Seth Berkley, M.D., CEO of vaccine alliance Gavi, told the AP that COVAX expects to have 1.4 billion doses ready for delivery by the end of 2021, about one-quarter fewer than its original goal.
The African Union envoy for COVID-19 vaccines, Strive Masiyiwa, said export restrictions and intellectual property rights should be lifted to allow vaccine production within Africa. The WHO and partners prepared in June by launching a hub in South Africa that could make the vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. However, neither of the companies has agreed to share the vaccine recipes, and they show no indication that they will do so, according to the AP.