Millions of coronavirus injections from the global Covax scheme have arrived in Nigeria, Angola and Kenya, while African countries are stepping up the introduction of their vaccines, AFP reports.
Richer countries have made progress with vaccination, but many poorer countries are still waiting for deliveries, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to warn that the crisis cannot end if not everyone can vaccinate their populations.
The WHO-managed Covax plant, along with health NGOs, aims to deliver vaccines to dozens of countries in the first 100 days of 2021, and two billion doses by the end of the year.
While Nigeria’s most populous country received nearly four million stab wounds on Tuesday, Angola received more than 600,000 doses, and DR Congo was due to receive a shipment later, following recent deliveries to Ghana and Ivory Coast.
Kenya received the first shipment of just over a million Covax-funded AstraZenec / Oxford shots early Wednesday.
However, there are still critical obstacles to introducing the scheme in huge African countries with volatile infrastructure and a range of security challenges – addressed by Faisal Shuaib, director of the Nigerian Primary Health Care Agency.
“States without a functional airport will be transported by road by van with built-in cold cabins, from the nearest airport,” he said.
He called the delivery – which arrived around noon in the capital Abuja – “a good day for Nigeria” and promised that the introduction would start seriously on Friday with the first vaccination of health workers in the first line.
Nigerian official Chief Mustapha called on traditional rulers, religious leaders, civil society groups and the media to spread the message that vaccinations are needed, adding: “This is a fight for all.”
In Angola, where some health workers were vaccinated shortly after the doses were unloaded, Djamila Cabral, the World Health Organization, said the arrival of the vaccine had brought “stronger hope for saving lives”, but warned that everyone should continue to respect the restrictions Covid to defeat the pandemic.