Africa’s vaccination campaign threatened as India suspends AstraZeneca exports

*Nigeria vaccinates 325,514, Ghana 470, 000,
Rwanda 345,000
By Sola Ogundipe, Chioma Obinna & Gabriel
Olawale
Nigeria’s vaccination programme encountered a
hitch on Thursday as India suspended all major
exports of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine from the
Serum Institute of India, SII.
The suspension by India came as the European
Union met on Thursday to consider giving member
states greater scope to block vaccines being
exported outside the bloc, much of which is
struggling to bring infections down and ramp up
immunisation campaigns.
It is not known how long the suspension will last,
but health watchers say the development is likely to
delay the delivery of the nation’s 2nd batch of
vaccine supplies expected around the end of March
and early April.
The suspension could also delay supplies to other
African countries as well as several low and middle-
income countries that are relying on India’s
production and supply of Covishield, its own version
of the AstraZeneca vaccine, manufactured under
licence from AstraZeneca of the UK.
It was gathered that the suspension would apply to
all vaccines including the AstraZeneca shot on
which the EU had originally been relying to meet a
goal of inoculating 70 percent of its adult
population.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine is seen as crucial in tackling
the pandemic as it is cheaper and easier to
transport than rival shots.
The EU has accused the AstraZeneca drugmaker of
over-selling its vaccine and unfairly favouring
Britain, – a charge denied by the company.
Under the COVAX Facility sharing scheme backed
by the World Health Organisation, Nigeria was
allocated 16 million doses of the AstraZeneca
vaccine out of which it received 3.92 million doses
in the first allocation.
Nigeria is expected to receive additional 42 million
vaccine doses through the African Union’s African
Vaccine Acquisition Task Team.
The COVAX Facility is expected to deliver around
90 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Africa in
the first quarter of 2021 and has committed to
provide 600 million doses by end-2021 to cover 20
per cent of the population.
72% of Nigerians want COVID-19 jab — SURVEY
A new survey by the Africa Centres for Disease
Control and Prevention, Africa CDC, has shown
that 72 percent of Nigerians are willing to be
vaccinated against COVID-19.
The findings which cover the 19-member countries
also revealed that two-thirds of Africans want to be
vaccinated, although only in Morocco, at 91
percent, Egypt (78 per cent), and Mozambique (75
per cent), is the willigness to be vaccinated higher
than in Nigeria.
READ ALSO: COVID-19: Don’t create vaccine
divide between rich, poor nations, says WHO
Levels of acceptability in other countries shows
South Africa (61 per cent), Zambia (53 per cent),
Kenya (59 per cent), and the Democratic Republic
of Congo (52 per cent). Tunisia and Cameroun had
the lowest number of interested persons at 35 per
cent each.
The developments were revealed as part of the
findings of a report released by the Partnership for
Evidence- Based Response to COVID-19 (PERC)
Consortium, made up of public health organisations
including the Africa CDC and others.
The new briefs combine results from phone surveys
on the impact of public health and social measures
(PHSMs) with information on epidemiological
trends, media monitoring, and data on population
mobility.

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