The World Health Organization (WHO) says Africa faces almost 500 million doses short of the global year-end target of fully vaccinating 40% of its population.
This comes as the COVAX Facility is forced to slash planned COVID-19 vaccine deliveries to continent by around 150 million this year.
In a statement, the WHO says this shortfall comes as Africa tops 8 million COVID-19 cases this week.
With the cutback, COVAX is now expected to deliver 470 million doses to Africa this year.
These will be enough to vaccinate just 17% of the population, far below the 40% target.
An additional 470 million doses are needed to reach the end-year target even if all planned shipments via COVAX, a multilateral initiative aimed at guaranteeing global access to lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines, and the African Union are delivered.
WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti says, “Export bans and vaccine hoarding have a chokehold on vaccine supplies to Africa. As long as rich countries lock COVAX out of the market, Africa will miss its vaccination goals. The huge gap in vaccine equity is not closing anywhere near fast enough. It is time for vaccine manufacturing countries to open the gates and help protect those facing the greatest risk.”
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