NAIROBI, Kenya — The World Health Organization’s Africa director says “we will get 25% less doses than we were anticipating by the end of the year” to combat COVID-19.
While the COVAX facility has delivered over 5 million vaccine doses to African countries in the past week, Matshidiso Moeti says, “three times as many doses have been thrown away in the United States alone” since March.
Moeti’s comments to reporters came as the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said just 3% of people across the African continent have been fully vaccinated.
“Every dose is precious,” Moeti said. “If companies and countries prioritize vaccine equity, this pandemic would be over quickly.”
African health officials are dismayed by Wednesday’s announcement that the global COVAX effort to distribute vaccines to low-and middle-income countries is again cutting its delivery forecast. It projects about 1.4 billion doses will be available through the program by year’s end, down from the expected 1.8 billion.
That revision, Moeti said, is “in part because of the prioritization of bilateral deals over international solidarity.” Also, the rollout of booster shots by some richer countries has caused alarm. WHO officials say the target of vaccinating 10% of people in Africa by the end of this month is being missed. The goal is to vaccinate 40% by the end of the year.
Moeti reported a decrease of nearly 25% in new cases in Africa last week, “the steepest drop in eight weeks since the peak in July.”