NAIROBI (Reuters) – Pharmaceutical companies should sell COVID-19 vaccines to African countries at discounted rates and allow them to be exported locally to cut potential costs, said head of the continent’s disease control group Thursday.
Africa is aiming to vaccinate up to 60% of its 1.3 billion people in the next two years, but they may require several years of inoculations, John Nkengasong, director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told -report.
How often people need vaccines against COVID-19 remains uncertain, he said.
“Because of this, local manufacturing is essential if we are to achieve our goals,” he said.
Many African states rely on COVAX, a global COVID-19 vaccine administration plan co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO), which works to lower prices for poor and middle-income countries.
But CDC Africa expects to receive only 20% of its vaccination needs through COVAX, and will also need money to roll out the vaccine.
“The COVAX facility does not care about delivery, it cares about purchasing the vaccines. But the biggest challenge for any vaccination program is how you deliver it to people in need in a timely manner, ”said Nkengasong,
He said the continent was working with Afreximbank and the World Bank to see how they raise money to buy and deliver vaccines.
In November, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also chairman of the African Union, said $ 12 billion was needed for the vaccination program.
On Thursday, GAVI, a vaccine alliance that co – manages COVAX with the WHO, said COVAX was on track with its goal of receiving 2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of 2021.
“COVAX has achieved its first fundraising goal and is making good progress in negotiating contracts with manufacturers,” said Thabani Maphosa, managing director at GAVI.
CDC Africa said on Thursday that a study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine showed that nearly 80% of Africans take the COVID-19 vaccine.
Reciting with Omar Mohammed. Edited by Elias Biryabarema and Mark Potter