US Ships Nearly 1.7 Million COVID-19 Vaccine Doses To Uganda

A Photo of COVID19 vaccine doses from #COVAX

 

The United States is shipping nearly 1.7 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine to Uganda, a White House official said Thursday, in the latest wave of jabs donated to stem the global pandemic.

“Thanks to the US commitment to playing a leading role in ending the pandemic everywhere, the United States is shipping 1,684,800 doses of Pfizer vaccine to Uganda,” a senior US official said, asking not to be named.

The vaccines are being shipped, starting Thursday, through Covax, the global distribution initiative co-led by public-private partnership Gavi.

On Wednesday, White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients announced that the United States had reached the milestone of 400 million vaccine doses delivered to 112 countries.

“Four hundred million doses shipped for free with no strings attached,” Zients said.

Washington has pledged 1.1 billion shots to the rest of the world — more than any other country — and has already sent vaccines to countries ranging from Guatemala to Papua New Guinea.

The US shots often cross paths with shipments from China and Russia in what has been dubbed “vaccine diplomacy,” although the US official insisted “we are sharing these doses not to secure favors or extract concessions.”

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According to figures from Johns Hopkins University, just 4.36 percent of Uganda’s population is fully vaccinated.

Uganda ended the world’s longest school closure earlier this month, ordering millions of students back to the classroom nearly two years after learning was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The country of some 45 million people recorded 160,778 Covid-19 cases, with 3,497 deaths, according to latest figures from Johns Hopkins.

Covax Delivers One Billionth COVID-19 Vaccine Dose

In this file photo, a healthcare worker prepares to administer a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to a person at a drive-thru site in Tropical Park on December 16, 2021, in Miami, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP

 

The Covax scheme aimed at equitable global access to Covid-19 vaccines hit a “key milestone” Saturday when it delivered its one billionth dose, one of its key backers said.

The Covax facility was set up in 2020 by the World Health Organization, Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to ensure that poorer countries can access the vaccines needed to battle the pandemic.

“Covax has delivered its first billionth dose of Covid-19 vaccines to 144 countries & territories across the world,” Gavi chief executive Seth Berkley tweeted.

“It’s a key milestone in the largest and most rapid global vaccine rollout in history.”

READ ALSO: India Begins Booster Campaign As Omicron Cases Soar

Berkley said that when the plane carrying the shipment with the one billionth dose had touched down in Kigali, Rwanda Saturday evening, “I felt proud but also humbled knowing how far we have to go to protect everyone and solve vaccine inequity”.

Covax hit the one-billionth mark less than a year after delivering its first vaccine dose late last February — to Ghana.

All countries have been permitted to order doses through the mechanism, but lower-income countries have received the jabs free of charge.

Berkley said in a statement Saturday that he was “proud that nearly 90 percent of the first billion doses Covax has delivered have been full-funded doses sent to the low and lower-middle countries”.

Omicron Could ‘Unravel’ Progress 

But while reaching that one-billion milestone is impressive, Covax has fallen far short of its initial objective of delivering two billion doses by the end of 2021.

That is because it has been forced to compete with rich countries willing to pay a high price and hoarding doses.

In a speech on Thursday, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pointed out that while more than 9.4 billion vaccine doses had been administered around the world, more than 85 percent of people in Africa have yet to receive a single dose.

Health experts warn that allowing Covid to spread unabated in some places dramatically increases the chance of new, more dangerous variants emerging.

WHO said late last month that nearly half of its 194 member states had missed its target of vaccinating 40 percent of their population by the end of 2021.

It has called for a redoubling of efforts to ensure all countries manage to hit its second target, of vaccinating 70 percent of their populations, by mid-2022.

But experts warn that the current imbalance risks deepening further as many countries now rush to roll out additional doses to respond to the fast-spreading coronavirus variant Omicron.

“We cannot afford to let Omicron and the increased demand for boosters unravel the progress we’ve made,” Berkley tweeted, urging the world to “work together to #breakCovid now”.

“If the world unites to ensure adults in lower-income countries are immunised at levels achieved in high-income countries,” he said, “between 940,000 and 1.27 million deaths could be prevented in the next year.”

AFP

Iraq Gets 1.2 Million Doses Of Pfizer COVID Vaccine

File photo of the outside view of the quarantine zone at an hospital in the central Iraqi holy shrine city of Najaf where the first case of COVID-19 documented in Iraq is being treated. PHOTO: Haidar HAMDANI / AFP

 

Iraq said Saturday it has received 1.2 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine through the Covax sharing scheme, amid fears of a fourth wave in the country.

Nearly seven million Iraqis have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, amounting to 17.5 percent of the country’s 40 million population, based on government figures.

Plagued by years of conflict, corruption, and neglect, Iraq’s health system has struggled to cope with the pandemic.

The health ministry announced on Saturday the arrival of a shipment of more than 1.2 million doses of “Pfizer’s anti-Covid vaccine through the Covax programme and UNICEF”, the UN Children’s Fund.

“Iraq is still facing danger from the coronavirus pandemic,” ministry spokesman Saif al-Badr said on Thursday.

“We expect to enter a fourth wave, (and) it could be a new variant,” he told state television.

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More than two million Iraqis have been infected with Covid and 23,628 have died in Iraq since the outbreak of the pandemic, according to official figures.

Despite an increase in the number of people getting jabbed, Iraq’s government has been unable to overcome general scepticism about vaccines and measures aimed at preventing the spread of the virus.

There is a high level of public mistrust of institutions in Iraq amid the circulation of misleading information about the pandemic.

Covax was set up to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines, particularly to low-income countries, and has already delivered more than 80 million doses to 129 territories.

AFP

US Donates 3.5 Million Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccines To Nigeria

Used vials of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine against the novel coronavirus stand next to a syringe in a doctor’s practice in Suhl, Germany, on May 6, 2021.
Christof STACHE / AFP

 

A total of 3,577,860 doses of the Pfizer vaccine have arrived in Nigeria from the United States.

This is according to a statement released by the United States Mission in Nigeria on Thursday.

“The U.S. Mission in Nigeria is pleased to announce the arrival of 3,577,860 doses of Pfizer vaccine for the public health and benefit of the Nigerian people through COVAX, the worldwide initiative ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines,” the statement said.

READ ALSO: Vaccinated Persons May Be Required To Take A Third Shot – Lagos Govt

“The U.S. shipment arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja on October 14. The shipment will bring the total number of U.S.-bilaterally donated doses to Nigeria to over 7.5 million. The U.S. also contributed to the first multilateral donation of AstraZeneca vaccine in March 2021.

“Overall, COVAX has provided Nigeria with over 10 million doses to date.”

The mission noted that safe and effective vaccines remain the best tool to ending the pandemic.

“The United States has pledged to purchase and donate 1.1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses worldwide, and to date has delivered more than 180 million doses to more than 100 countries,” the statement added.

FG Receives 699,760 Doses Of Astrazeneca Vaccine

 

The Federal Government has received 699,760 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, donated by the UK government.

According to the Acting British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Gill Atkinson, the donation is part of the 80 million doses the country had pledged to support the COVID-19 fight.

“The UK was one of the first countries to back COVAX with £548m. We have consistently pushed for a global effort that helps every country receive the vaccine against COVID-19. I am so pleased to see Nigeria receive 699, 760 doses, donated by the UK, in their second batch of the vaccine through COVAX,” Atkinson said.

She called on citizens to take advantage of the availability of the vaccines and get herd immunity against the virus.

Meanwhile, Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) said the vaccines will be deployed immediately, with priority on those who already took the first jab.

Read Also: COVID-19 Vaccines: Next Step Of Response Will Depend On Health Workers – Ihekweazu

He also warned citizens against mixing vaccines.

Before deployment, the vaccines are expected to undergo revalidation by NAFDAC.

The Federal Government on Monday commenced the administration of new vaccines marking the start of the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

The second phase of the vaccination programme was breathed into life after the US donated over four million doses of the Moderna vaccine.

The need for the rollout of the second batch of the vaccines has become crucial as Nigeria gradually returns to seeing a spike in infections.

Only about one per cent of the country’s population has been fully vaccinated, so far.

As of Monday, Nigeria recorded 584 new cases of COVID-19, with four deaths.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) disclosed this in its daily report.

Data for the day showed that Lagos maintained the highest number of infections (201), followed by Rivers with 149 cases and the Federal Capital Territory with 82 infections.

Other states with cases are Ondo (73), Ekiti (17), Cross River (13), Oyo (11), Ogun (9), Delta (8), Osun (8), Bayelsa (4), Kaduna (4), Kano (2), Kwara (2), and Sokoto (1).

WHO Warns Of June-July Covax Doses Shortfall

A carton box of a Covishield vaccine developed by Pune based Serum Institute of India (SII) is unloaded at Mumbai airport on February 24, 2021, as part of the Covax scheme, which aims to procure and distribute inoculations fairly among all nations.
INDRANIL MUKHERJEE / AFP

 

 

The World Health Organization said Friday a shortfall in COVID-19 vaccine doses going through the Covax programme in June and July could undermine the efficiency of the roll-out.

Covax was set up to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines, particularly to low-income countries, and has already delivered more than 80 million doses to 129 territories.

But that is “about 200 million doses behind where we want to be”, Bruce Aylward, the WHO’s Covax frontman, told reporters in Geneva.

So while wealthy countries had pledged to give some 150 million doses so far — on top of the doses Covax procures with donated funds — that would not resolve the problem.

“We are setting up for failure if we don’t get early doses. We are not on track yet: we don’t have enough doses from enough countries early enough to get the world on track to get out of this,” Aylward said.

While the pledges to donate 150 million doses through Covax was a “great start”, Aylward said there were “two big problems”.

“Number one, very little is committed to the June-July period, which means we’re going to still have this gap,” Aylward said.

“The other problem is just the volume. If we are going to get on track to get at least 30-40 percent of the world population vaccinated this year we got to get another 250 million people vaccinated between now and the end of September.”

Supply problems

Covax is an international scheme co-led by the WHO, Gavi and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

It intends to procure enough vaccines for 30 percent of the population in 92 of the poorest participating territories — 20 percent in India — with donors covering the cost.

Covax has been hit by inequalities in the global vaccine roll-out, but also delivery delays.

AstraZeneca shots making up 97 percent of doses supplied so far — the rest being Pfizer-BioNTech.

The Serum Institute of India, producing AstraZeneca doses, was to have been the backbone of Covax’s supply chain. However, New Delhi restricted vaccine exports to combat a devastating domestic surge.

SII said Wednesday that it hoped to resume supplies to Covax over the next few months.

Covax was set up to combat the likelihood of rich countries buying up most available vaccine doses — which occurred as predicted.

On Thursday, the world hit the milestone of two billion Covid-19 vaccines having been injected around the world, according to an AFP count.

But of those doses, 37 percent have been administered in high-income countries accounting for 16 percent of the global population.

Just 0.3 percent have been administered in the 29 lowest-income countries, home to nine percent of the world’s people.

Syria Government Receives First COVAX Jabs

A carton box of a Covishield vaccine developed by Pune based Serum Institute of India (SII) is unloaded at Mumbai airport on February 24, 2021, as part of the Covax scheme, which aims to procure and distribute inoculations fairly among all nations.
INDRANIL MUKHERJEE / AFP

 

The Syrian government received more than 200,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine via the Covax programme Thursday, state media said, in the first such shipment to government-held territory.

The delivery comes as Syria’s war-ravaged medical sector grapples with a Covid-19 outbreak that has accelerated rapidly in recent months.

The health ministry “received the first batch of vaccines provided by the Covax platform, which consist of 203,000 doses,” the official SANA news agency said.

On Wednesday, the war-torn northwest of the country had received 53,800 AstraZeneca doses from Covax, the first such delivery to the country’s last major opposition bastion.

Covax is jointly led by the public-private alliance Gavi, the World Health Organization and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

It has already sent vaccine doses to more than 100 countries and territories worldwide.

In a joint statement, Gavi, WHO and the UN’s agency for children UNICEF said Thursday’s vaccine delivery marked “a great day of hope.”

“The imminent roll-out of the vaccines will bring protection to health workers, who continue their lifesaving work amid the pandemic,” the statement said.

In recent weeks, the Syrian government has repeatedly sounded the alarm over soaring coronavirus rates.

In mid-March, intensive care units dedicated to Covid-19 patients in Damascus hospitals reached full capacity, according to the health ministry.

Thursday’s delivery “gives hope for the people in Syria, whose lives have been shattered by a decade of conflict and the devastating impact of the pandemic,” said WHO’s Syria representative, Akjemal Magtymova.

According to the WHO, 912,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been earmarked for Syria in a first phase of vaccination in regime-controlled and in semi-autonomous Kurdish areas.

The aim is to vaccinate 20 percent of the population by year’s end.

“Every health worker who will get vaccinated will be better protected to attend to children’s and families’ health needs,” said Bo Viktor Nylund, UNICEF’s Syria representative.

Officially, government-controlled territories have recorded more than 21,500 Covid-19 cases, including 1,483 deaths.

But the real number of cases could be much higher, according to the UN, mostly due to limited testing.

Covax Seeks $2b Donations To Cover COVID-19 Vaccines

A Photo of COVID19 vaccine doses from #COVAX

 

The Covax scheme launched a push for an extra $2 billion in donations on Thursday, saying it needed the money in advance to reserve Covid-19 vaccine doses.

The Covax facility ensures the 92 poorest participating economies can access coronavirus jabs, with the cost covered by donors.

The United States co-hosted Thursday’s donor event at which the first $400 million was raised.

Sweden led the way, putting in $258 million, with the Netherlands donating $47 million.

“People everywhere should have access to rigorously tested, safe, and effective Covid-19 vaccines,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“As long as Covid is spreading and replicating anywhere, it poses a threat to people everywhere.”

 

A carton box of a Covishield vaccine developed by Pune based Serum Institute of India (SII) is unloaded at Mumbai airport on February 24, 2021, as part of the Covax scheme, which aims to procure and distribute inoculations fairly among all nations. INDRANIL MUKHERJEE / AFP

 

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will host a Covax funding summit focused on the 92 countries in June, it was announced.

“The supply of vaccines and funding are still insufficient, and there is an urgent need to further strengthen the Covax facility to ensure equitable access to safe, effective, and quality-assured vaccines to people in developing countries,” said Japan’s Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi.

Nearly 840 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in at least 205 territories around the world, according to an AFP count.

Covax has delivered more than 38 million doses so far to 113 participating territories.

The first shipment landed in Ghana on February 24, with Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo publicly taking the first shot.

Covax is co-led by the WHO, the Gavi vaccine alliance, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

The scheme is aiming to distribute enough doses to vaccinate up to 27 percent of the population in the 92 poorest participating economies by the end of the year.

“We have now secured up to 2.5 billion doses … and sight on another billion doses,” said Gavi chief Seth Berkley.

“You can put advance purchase agreements in place but to do those you have financing available.

“That’s why the up-front money is critical.”

Sweden’s donation made it the largest contributor relative to population.

“This is an investment not only in global solidarity, but also in our common objective of putting an end to the pandemic,” said International Development Minister Per Olsson Fridh.

“Minimising the risk of dangerous virus variants, enabling a quicker economic recovery and minimising the already devastating impact of Covid-19 is in everyone’s best interest,” he said.

AFP

COVAX Reaches Over 100 Economies, 42 Days After First International Delivery

 

The COVAX Facility has now delivered life-saving vaccines to over 100 economies since making its first international delivery to Ghana on 24 February 2021.

So far, more than 38 million doses of vaccines from manufacturers AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Serum Institute of India (SII) have now been delivered, including 61 economies eligible for vaccines through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment.

COVAX aims to supply vaccines to all participating economies that have requested vaccines, in the first half of 2021, despite some delays in planned deliveries for March and April.

More than one hundred economies have received life-saving COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX, the global mechanism for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. The milestone comes 42 days after the first COVAX doses were shipped and delivered internationally, to Ghana on 24 February 2021.

COVAX has now delivered more than 38 million doses across six continents, supplied by three manufacturers, AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, and the Serum Institute of India (SII). Of the over 100 economies reached, 61 are among the 92 lower-income economies receiving vaccines funded through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).

READ ALSO: Brazilian Senate To Probe Bolsonaro’s Handling Of COVID-19 Pandemic

FILES) In this file photo an illustration picture shows vials with Covid-19 Vaccine stickers attached and syringes with the logo of British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca on November 17, 2020.

 

Despite reduced supply availability in March and April – the result of vaccine manufacturers scaling and optimizing their production processes in the early phase of the rollout, as well as increased demand for COVID-19 vaccines in India – COVAX expects to deliver doses to all participating economies that have requested vaccines in the first half of the year.

“In under four months since the very first mass vaccination outside a clinical setting anywhere in the world, it is tremendously gratifying that the roll-out of COVAX doses has already reached one hundred countries,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

“COVAX may be on track to deliver to all participating economies in the first half of the year yet we still face a daunting challenge as we seek to end the acute stage of the pandemic: we will only be safe when everybody is safe and our efforts to rapidly accelerate the volume of doses depend on the continued support of governments and vaccine manufacturers. As we continue with the largest and most rapid global vaccine rollout in history, this is no time for complacency.”

“COVAX has given the world the best way to ensure the fastest, most equitable rollout of safe and effective vaccines to all at-risk people in every country on the planet,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “If we are going to realize this great opportunity, countries, producers, and the international system must come together to prioritize vaccine supply through COVAX. Our collective future, literally, depends on it.”

“This is a significant milestone in the fight against COVID-19. Faced with the rapid spread of COVID-19 variants, global access to vaccines is fundamentally important to reduce the prevalence of the disease, slow down viral mutation, and hasten the end of the pandemic,” said Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

“The extraordinary scientific achievements of the last year must now be matched by an unprecedented effort to protect the most vulnerable, so the global community must remain firmly focused on reducing the equity gap in COVID-19 vaccine distribution.”

“In just a month and a half, the ambition of granting countries access to COVID vaccines is becoming a reality, thanks to the outstanding work of our partners in the COVAX Facility,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director.

“However, this is no time to celebrate; it is time to accelerate. With variants emerging all over the world, we need to speed up global rollout. To do this, we need governments, along with other partners, to take necessary steps to increase supply, including by simplifying barriers to intellectual property rights, eliminating direct and indirect measures that restrict exports of COVID-19 vaccines, and donating excess vaccine doses as quickly as possible.”

According to its latest supply forecast, COVAX expects to deliver at least 2 billion doses of vaccines in 2021. In order to reach this goal, the COVAX Facility will continue to diversify its portfolio further, and will announce new agreements with vaccine manufacturers in due course.

Furthermore, in March it was announced that the United States government will host the launch event for the 2021 Gavi COVAX AMC Invest Opportunity to catalyze further commitment and support for accelerated access to vaccines for AMC-supported economies.

An additional US$ 2 billion is required in 2021 to finance and secure up to a total of 1.8 billion donor-funded doses of vaccines. COVAX is also working to secure additional sourcing of vaccines in the form of dose-sharing from higher-income countries.

PHOTOS: Nigeria Receives 3.92million COVID-19 Vaccine Doses

This is the first COVID-19 vaccine shipment to Nigeria.

 

Nigeria on Tuesday received 3.92million COVID-19 vaccine doses.

The NAFDAC-approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, via an Emirates airline.

Officials including the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, and the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire were at the airport to receive the vaccines.

READ ALSO: Boko Haram Insurgents Abduct Aid Workers In Borno

The World Health Organisation, African Region in a tweet congratulated Nigeria for successfully receiving the vaccines.

 

“3.92 million #COVID19 vaccine doses from #COVAX have just arrived in Abuja, Nigeria. This first COVID-19 vaccine shipment to Africa’s most populous nation marks a huge step towards #VaccinEquity. Congratulations #Nigeria!,” WHO said.

 

See below photos of the vaccines on arrival at the airport in Abuja…

Ghana, Ivory Coast Administer World’s First Free Covax Jabs

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo receiving a shot of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in a live broadcast. PHOTO: @NAkufoAddo/Twitter

 

Ghana and its West African neighbour Ivory Coast on Monday became the world’s first states to administer vaccines from Covax, a global scheme to procure free Covid jabs for poorer countries.

Richer nations have surged ahead with inoculating their population, but many poorer countries are still awaiting their first vaccine doses.

“It is important that I set the example that this vaccine is safe by being the first to have it, so that everybody in Ghana can feel comfortable about taking this vaccine,” Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, 76, said before receiving a shot of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in a live broadcast.

READ ALSO: Why Buhari, Others Will Receive COVID-19 Vaccine ‘In The Open’ – Minister

The first lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo also received a jab, one day before the rest of the 600,000 doses are deployed across the country.

In Ivory Coast a short while later, Patrick Achi, President Alassane Ouattara’s spokesman, was vaccinated in a tent vaccination centre set up in a sports complex in Abidjan, the country’s economic hub.

Getting the jab, said Achi, was a “patriotic duty.”

Vaccination “offers the hope of a return to normal in the coming months,” he said.

Ivorian Health Minister Eugene Aka Ouele said the first batch of 504,000 vaccines would be distributed in the Abidjan area, “the epicentre of the country’s epidemic.”

Members of the armed forces and security services followed Achi in getting their immunisation.

 

– Covax push –

Ghana’s food and drug authority last month authorised the Indian-made vaccine and Russia’s Sputnik V, as the government aims to reach 20 of its 30 million population by year’s end.

Last Wednesday, Ghana was the first country to receive vaccines from Covax, led by Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

Some 145 participating economies are set to receive 337.2 million doses by mid-year — enough to vaccinate a little over three percent of their combined populations.

Covax has said it hopes to raise the figure to up to 27 percent in lower-income countries by the end of December.

Ghana has recorded 84,023 Covid-19 cases and 607 deaths since the start of the pandemic, although the true figure is believed to be higher because of lack of testing.

Schools reopened in January after a 10-month closure, but large social gatherings are banned and land and sea borders have remained closed since March 2020.

Despite the vaccine roll-out, the president said that all the current restrictions to curb the spread of the virus were to remain in place.

Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa with around 200 million people is scheduled to receive nearly four million Covax-funded vaccines on Tuesday.

Africa has been relatively spared in the global coronavirus pandemic, although there remain deep concerns about the potential for further surges caused by new variants of the microbe.

The continent of 1.3 billion people has officially recorded 3.9 million cases out of 114 million worldwide, according to an AFP tally. African fatalities number more than 103,000 out of a global 2.53 million.

Outside the Covax initiative, African countries that have launched vaccination drives include Senegal, South Africa, Zimbabwe, the Seychelles, Mauritius, Rwanda, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Algeria, Morocco and Egypt.

AFP

Germany Gives Extra €1.5bn For Global Vaccine Rollout

A medical worker shows a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on February 12, 2021 at the Tapparelli Retirement Home in Saluzzo, near Cuneo, Northwestern Italy, during a vaccination campaign for people over 80. PHOTO: Marco Bertorello / AFP

 

Germany is donating an additional 1.5 billion euros ($1.8 billion) to boost the rollout of vaccines in the world’s poorest countries, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said Friday, increasing an earlier contribution of 600 million euros.

“Today we want to make clear: we stand with the poorest countries. Germany is providing a further 1.5 billion euros for Covax, WHO, and others,” Scholz said in a statement.

“Vaccines are the only way out of the pandemic.”

The move was announced following a virtual G7 meeting at which leaders pledged to move as one in ensuring coronavirus vaccines reach everyone in the world.

Rich countries have come under fire in recent months for hoarding Covid-19 jabs at the expense of poorer countries, despite warnings from health experts that vaccines can only end the pandemic if they are shared out across the globe.

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European Union chief Ursula von der Leyen announced earlier on Friday that the bloc was doubling its contribution to the Covax global Covid-19 vaccination programme to one billion euros.

US President Joe Biden was expected to pledge $4 billion in aid to Covax during the virtual meeting with other leaders from the Group of Seven major industrial nations.

Covax is a global project to procure and distribute coronavirus vaccines for at least the most vulnerable 20 percent in every country, allowing poorer states to catch up with the vaccination rush by dozens of wealthy countries.

German Development Minister Gerd Mueller said just 0.5 percent of Covid-19 vaccinations had taken place in the world’s poorest countries.

“Only a global vaccination campaign can lead the way out of the pandemic. It must not fail because of financing,” he said.

AFP