All 54 countries in Africa have expressed interest in a plan to guarantee fair and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines, the World Health Organization’s Area Manager in Immunization and Vaccine Development, Dr. Richard Mihigo, says.
“Once a vaccine is licensed and approved, COVAX aims to secure 220 million doses for the continent” to be distributed to all African countries proportional to population size, according to Mihigo.
The initial doses will cover 20% of Africa's population and prioritize frontline health care workers and vulnerable groups with pre-existing conditions.
Higher and middle income countries on the continent have agreed to self-finance their doses, but the remaining countries will be eligible to receive financial support through the initiative.
South Africa remains the only country on the continent currently running clinical trials for the AstraZeneca and Novavax vaccines, but other countries including Uganda and Kenya have expressed interest in starting clinical trials, Mihigo added.
“Whenever an effective and safe vaccine is available, it will be available to all the people of Africa at the same time as the developed world,” Mihigo said.