Experts call for mass production of vaccines in the continent

Dr. Ayode Alkija, WHO’s Special Envoy for Access to Covid, during the summit under the theme “Ports to Arms: Africa’s Response to Covid-19 – Equity, Supply and Manufacturing”, held in Hybrid this Wednesday, February 23, 2022 The 19 Instruments Accelerator, along with a panel of African leaders, non-governmental organization leaders and international partners, has called for mass production of vaccines in Africa as the continent is still late in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Entering the third year of the pandemic, vaccination rates in Africa are still lower than in Europe and North America. While developed countries distribute booster doses to children, only 7% of the African population has received a single dose. At this pace, many African countries will not reach the 70% threshold before August 2024.

top, title “From Ports to Weapons: Africa Responds to COVID-19 – Equity, Supply and Manufacturing”Organized by the Emergency Coordination Center (ECC) and the Coalition for the Supply of Vaccines in Africa, the COVAX program examines the challenges and opportunities facing Africa in terms of both vaccination, production and supply.

Present at the conference, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, President of the Governors Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Nigeria, expects African countries to be open to partnerships to allow populations to benefit from vaccinations to boost herd immunity .

COVAX in the service of Africa

For his part, Dr. Seth Berkeley, CEO of Gavi, recalled that the COVAX program is celebrating its first anniversary since its inception and has already donated 440 million doses of vaccines to the countries most in need.

“The COVAX program will continue to provide doses of vaccines that can be used as quickly as possible for African countries to curb the pandemic and reduce inequalities”He underlined, recalling that the United States has been the largest contributor since the creation of Kovax.

The same goes for Dr. Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI: “In 2022, more vaccine doses will be available, allowing many countries to achieve higher vaccination coverage by the middle of 2022. Achieving high vaccine access and coverage rates depends not only on vaccine supply, but also on vaccine acceptance and a country’s ability to deploy available supplies.He believes that.

During his intervention, WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti also highlighted the importance of equitable access to vaccines in all countries.

“As countries fall behind in completing a range of primary vaccinations, globally coordinated efforts and funding must be strengthened to achieve equitable distribution and use of vaccines in all countries.”he said.

However, John Nkengsong, director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the main challenge to vaccinating the continent is no longer a lack of supplies, but logistical challenges and vaccine hesitation.

The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization has begun working to supply COVID-19 vaccine doses to countries’ needs – trying to provide options for where vaccines are sent and when they are administered .

Vaccine production to end epidemic in Africa

According to Nkengsong, Africa’s ability to make supplements is critical not only to fight COVID, but also to fight future diseases.

For his part, the WHO director in Africa stressed the importance of instructing and working hand in hand to increase the production of vaccines in the continent.

“Africa has spent two years fighting the pandemic with few tools at its disposal, which is why it is essential to respond quickly to the needs of the population in order to move forward in eradicating the virus.”he said.

“Africa is a vulnerable continent and it may take years for the pandemic to end. This is why it is important to produce vaccines and thanks to mRNA technology, it is now possible to change things. We are working in partnership with multiple organizations to expedite this process.”Explains, for his part, Dr. Hatchett.

A few days ago, Germany’s BioNtech, which developed the first mRNA vaccine against the coronavirus with Pfizer, unveiled mobile vaccine production units housed in shipping containers with the aim of bringing manufacturing to Africa.

Earlier this month, South African biotechnology company Biologics announced that it had produced the continent’s first coronavirus vaccine based on mRNA technology, using publicly available genetic code used by BioNTech’s rival, Moderna Was.

Several countries and NGOs have demanded that the vaccine technology be shared without a patent, as there is no patent behind it.

It should be noted that this summit is a continuation of a series of events: the October 2021 World Health Summit (WHS) in Berlin, which called on world leaders to address global pandemic preparedness, the 2021 High in Wilton Park level dialogue. Event, G20 Rome Declaration and Global Coronavirus Summit.

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