GENEVA, 3 March 2021 – Five more African countries – Angola, DR Congo, Kenya, Nigeria and Rwanda – received their first consignments of COVID-19 vaccines in the 24 hours to Wednesday.
The five bring to seven the number of African countries who have received vaccine doses from the COVAX initiative after Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire were first to accept deliveries last week.
The next set of deliveries are expected to go to Mali, Senegal, Malawi and Uganda.
Nigeria received two million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines from COVAX, the global initiative set up by the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equity in vaccinations for the world’s poorest countries.
The other deliveries were to the Democratic Republic of Congo (1.7 million doses), Kenya (1.02 million doses), Angola (624,000 doses) and Rwanda (240,000 doses).
South Africa, which has recorded one-third of all COVID-19 cases in Africa – 1.51 million COVID-19 confirmed cases with a total of 50,271 fatalities as of Wednesday – launched its vaccination campaign with the first jab provided to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The 80,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine South Africa received is a small part of the millions the country has secured.
Pfizer, for example, has committed to supply South Africa with 20 million doses, with the first consignment of the vaccines expected to be delivered by the end of March 2021.
Meantime, in both Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, mass inoculation campaigns have kicked off with the presidents of both countries becoming the first to take jabs to their arms – and to do so publicly.
Ghana’s rollout on the basis of 600,000 Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine doses came a day after Cote d’Ivoire launched its first phase of vaccination drawing on the 800,000 doses the country received from COVAX over the weekend..
The campaign in Ghana initially targets 43 districts mostly located in the southern parts of the country where COVID-19 cases have been widespread.
The country’s parliament which shutdown after 17 MPs tested positive for the virus reopened Tuesday, with MPs becoming some of the first Ghanaians to get vaccinated.
About 20 million Ghanaians are expected to be inoculated before the end of the year.
All COVAX vaccine doses are prioritized for the inoculation of the elderly, healthcare workers, people with underlying health conditions and essential workers, including teachers and members of the armed and security forces.
Kenya’s priority group includes some 400,000 healthcare workers.
More details of the inoculation campaigns planned in Angola, DR Congo, Nigeria, Kenya and Rwanda are yet to emerge.
With a population of 1.3 billion inhabitants, Africa had, as of Wednesday, confirmed 1.51 million COVID-19 with 104,382 deaths and 1.43 million full recoveries.
The African countries to which COVAX vaccine deliveries had already been made by Wednesday are dealing with significant virus load.
The first two countries to receive consignments – Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire – have, respectively, confirmed 84,023 cases with 607 deaths and 32,929 cases with 193 deaths.
Nigeria has confirmed 156,000 COVID-19 cases with 1,923 deaths and 135,000 full recoveries as of Wednesday.
Also as of Wednesday, the COVID-19 case load in the other African countries in receipt of COVAX vaccine doses is as follows:
Angola – 20,882 confirmed cases with 510 deaths. DR Congo – 26,049 cases with 711 deaths. Kenya – 106,000 cases with 1,863 deaths. And, Rwanda – 19,111 cases with 265 deaths.
The new coronavirus pandemic has so far infected 115 million worldwide and claimed the lives of no fewer than 2.55 million people with an estimated 64.9 million people believed to have fully recovered from their infections.