Africa may have to wait until the second quarter of 2021 to roll out vaccines, Africa CDC director John Nkengasong said Thursday, according to the Associated Press.
Why it matters: “I have seen how Africa is neglected when drugs are available,” Nkengasong said.
- Africa surpassed two million confirmed cases last week. The continent will require around 1.5 billion vaccine doses, Nkengasong said at a press briefing, but only 24% of the 47 sub-Saharan African countries have plans in place for resources and funding, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The big picture: The Africa CDC has explored vaccine options with Russia and China, among others. The goal is to vaccinate 20% of the population by the end of 2021, WHO Africa chief Matshidiso Moeti said in a separate briefing.
- But vaccinating priority populations alone will require more than $5 billion — even without costs for delivery, according to the WHO.
- The cold storage necessary for maintaining vaccines is another challenge.
- In the meantime, authorities have distributed 2.7 million antigen tests to enable faster and easier testing, which Nkengasong said is “perhaps a game-changer.”