COVAX aims to deliver 520 mln vaccine doses to Africa this year

PUBLISHED: Thu, 08 Jul 2021 12:08:00 GMT

JOHANNESBURG, July 8 (Reuters) – The global vaccine distribution scheme COVAX aims to deliver 520 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Africa this year, its director said on Thursday.

Aurelia Nguyen, managing director of COVAX, told a news conference organised by the World Health Organization’s Africa region that the scheme was not happy with progress supplying doses so far, but that deliveries should ramp up from September.

The facility has experienced delays partly as a result of Indian export restrictions that have prevented COVAX from obtaining doses from the Serum Institute of India, one of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturers, which is making shots of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca.

Nguyen said so far COVAX had delivered around 25 million doses to 44 African countries.

By the end of the first quarter of 2022, COVAX now aims to supply nearly 850 million vaccine doses to the continent, which has some of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates worldwide.

In March, the CEO of vaccine alliance Gavi, one of the organisations co-leading COVAX, had said the aim was to supply Africa with 720 million doses in 2021.

Nguyen said COVAX had been in talks with the Indian government and Serum Institute and that it was factoring in a resumption of supplies from India “towards the later part of the year” although the situation was still fluid. (Reporting by Alexander Winning Editing by Peter Graff)

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