Covax wants to turn to other vaccines to be able to deliver the African continent
The third wave of Covid-19 in Africa has not yet reached its peak of infection, but already, this wave is worse than the previous one according to the WHO, which is worried about the spread of the Delta variant. However, the Covax system, which is supposed to distribute vaccines to poor countries, has been halted.
Nearly 251,000 new cases were detected last week in Africa, 20% more than the week before. In parallel, the continent is still facing a shortage of vaccines. The WHO-led Covax scheme, which is supposed to distribute doses to poor countries, is a failure. Only 25 million doses have been distributed in Africa for 1.3 billion people, and less than 2% of the African population is fully vaccinated, compared to 25% worldwide.
In May and June, shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine, manufactured in India, were halted. This is the vaccine that the Covax system has relied on since the beginning of the pandemic for distribution in Africa. The current delivery delays are due to the severe epidemic situation in India and the fact that doses produced by the Serum Institute of India were diverted for local use when they were intended for the Covax system,” explains Aurelia Nguyen, Covax’s general manager. We are in talks with the government and the Serum Institute and expect to resume deliveries by the end of the year.
This shortage has prompted WHO and Covax to change their strategy by diversifying into other vaccines. “We now have a choice of nine vaccines or vaccine candidates. If a manufacturer cannot deliver, we can compensate with one of these new manufacturers,” says Aurélia Nguyen. This gives us confidence in our ability to meet our forecasts and deliver 520 million doses of vaccine by the end of the year.