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Coronavirus: WHO requests 30 million doses from US for southern Africa

By Jeune Afrique
Posted on Wednesday, 16 June 2021 10:25

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. Fred Merz/Monday13 for JA

The WHO has sent a letter to the White House, asking it to urgently send Covid-19 vaccines to Zambia, Angola and Zimbabwe.

According to our information, the WHO has requested that Washington send 30 million Covid-19 doses to southern Africa, with accompanying analyses and projections.

The increase in Covid-19 cases throughout several countries in the southern part of the continent is particularly worrying. Some experts fear that the coronavirus will return to hit the region hard during the winter months.

Twice as many deaths

Vaccines are urgently needed before this new wave of the pandemic hits, which is generally estimated to last 45 days. The number of deaths is already doubling every week in some countries, such as Zambia.

The WHO has recently sent technical teams to help countries test and isolate infected people, and to support governments in their health response, for example by identifying variants (sequencing of viruses).

As a result of cross-border trade, South African variants (Beta) are thought to be present in the countries bordering the Cape: Zambia, Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, etc. The British variant (Alpha) is also widely present in the region and a few cases of the Indian variant (Delta) have been detected in South Africa and Zambia.

The WHO initiative came ahead of the G7 leaders’ summit in Carbis Bay, UK, from 11 to 13 June, which pledged to provide a billion doses to the poorest countries.

The US announced that it would be providing 500 million doses of Pfizer-BioNtech through Covax, thus half of the G7 leaders’ pledged amount, but did not provide any details regarding distribution.

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