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    Sixteen African nations show interest in AU vaccine scheme


    The director of the Africa CDC says that the countries asked for a total of 114 million doses and the allocation could be announced within three weeks.

    Sixteen African countries have shown interest in acquiring COVID-19 vaccines under the African Union (AU) scheme, and allocations could be announced in the next three weeks, the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said .

    While many wealthy countries have already begun large-scale vaccination campaigns, only a few African countries have begun vaccination, and the 55-member African Union vaccinates 60 percent of the continent’s 1.3 billion people over the next three years Looks forward to.

    The AU has so far received approximately 670 million doses for its member states.

    Africa CDC director John Nekengsong said 16 countries have asked for a total of 114 million doses under the AU’s Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), which began functioning in mid-January.

    “We hope to have them vaccinated within the next two to three weeks,” he said in a virtual news conference on Thursday.

    Africa is due to receive around 600 million vaccine doses this year through the COVAX facility co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO).

    Later in the briefing, WHO Africa director Matsidiso Moiti said that about 90 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine could begin arriving on the continent later this month.

    “These doses will help countries reach three percent of their population in the first half of 2021, which targets the most at-risk groups, especially front-line health workers,” she said.

    Moeti said that some 320,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNotech vaccine were allocated to Cape Verde, Rwanda, South Africa and Tunisia, and deliveries were expected to take place this month.

    Moeti said the COVAX facility is intended to help secure vaccines for 20 percent of Africans, which would mean approximately 600 million doses.

    Fatality rate is increasing

    Nkengasong said the COVID-19 case fatality rate on the continent is “very disturbing” as it is ever lower globally.

    Nkengasong told reporters that the fatal rate on the 54-nation continent is now 2.6 percent, while the global rate is 2.2 percent.

    Twenty African countries, including South Africa and Sudan, have higher rates than the global average because parts of the continent have a fatal toll in some parts of the continent compared to the initial wave of infections in the previous year.

    Africa’s death in the epidemic has been confirmed to be approaching 100,000, with more than 3.6 million cases in total.

    Nekengsong said “it would be a tragedy if we start normalizing these deaths”.

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