Scale of current production “makes it feasible”
Top African researchers have called on rich countries to donate and ship 300 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to the continent by the end of August.
“The scale of current production worldwide makes it now feasible to provide Africa with 300 million doses in the next 9 weeks on an urgent and expedited basis,” The Lancet Covid-19 Commission’s Africa task force said in a statement published online on 1 July.
According to the task force, Europe and the United States have fully vaccinated 300m people, while Africa’s total stands at only 15m.
The US should especially speed up shipments as it has reached a “near saturation in vaccine uptake”, the group says.
The group contains several leading African scientists including Gordon Awandare, director of the West African Center for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens; Amadou Sall, director of the Pasteur Institute in Senegal; and Salim Abdool Karim, head of the Centre for the Aids Programme of Research in South Africa.
The group says that 300m doses would enable every African country to vaccinate 20 per cent of its adult population by the end of August.
The signatories call for “urgent financial and technical support” for the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as for national programmes for “non-pharmaceutical interventions, disease surveillance, diagnostics, vaccination infrastructure for cold chain and vaccination stations, data management systems, and genomic surveillance of breakthrough infections”.