Addis Ababa October 23/2020 (ENA) The African Export Import Bank is ready to raise up to 5 billion USD to purchase COVID-19 vaccines for African countries, the head of the continent’s disease control body told Reuters on Thursday.
Africa CDC Director, Dr. John Nkengasong said that Africa needs to be pro-active in the race to secure vaccines for the novel coronavirus that has infected more than 41 million people globally.
COVAX, a global COVID-19 vaccine allocation plan co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO), will only be able to secure shots for less than 10 percent of the continent’s population of 1.29 billion, the director pointed out.
COVAX, designed to lower prices and discourage national governments from hoarding COVID-19 vaccines, aims to help buy and fairly distribute at least 2 billion doses of approved vaccines by the end of 2021, it was indicated.
“We are discussing with Afreximbank, and they… say look, we are ready to raise up to about 5 billion USD to support additional doses of vaccines,” Nkengasong quoted by Reuters as saying, adding that the money could be poured into COVAX or spent to negotiate directly with manufacturers.
The WHO said last month it wants to secure an initial 230 million doses of any COVID-19 vaccine for Africa, but Nkengasong warned that, accounting for two shots per person and leakages in distribution, this would only cover 8-9 percent of Africa’s population, far short of the 40-60 percent needed for immunity.
Africa as of today has 1,685, 589 confirmed coronavirus cases and 40,690 deaths, and 1, 387,022 recoveries, according to Africa CDC report.