The African Union’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said the prospects for receiving funding for the purchase of the coronavirus vaccines is promising after the World Bank pledged US$12 billion to the joint venture.
Africa CDC Director, John Nkengasong, said on Thursday the negotiations with several major financiers has been continuing and had become most urgent because of the fears of a second wave infections spree.
The African Import and Export Bank (Afreximbank) has been in talks with the AU over the possibility of getting US$5 billion for the purchase of the coronavirus vaccines.
At least 750 million people will require vaccinations in Africa and each person would be required to take at least two doses of the vaccine once it has been cleared by the World Health Organisation, Nkengasong told reporters on Thursday.
A second wave of the coronavirus pandemic has started sweeping across Africa with much more drastic consequences compared to the first wave, which spread much slowly over a five-month period, reaching its peak in August.
Nkengasong said the fact that South Africa was confirming a second wave of the pandemic was not unique but a universal occurrence.
“What is happening in South Africa is what is happening in Africa. We started off slowly in March. We peaked in August and the epidemiological situation peaked and it picked up pace and it will be at the level of July and August come January after Christmas festivities,” Nkengasong said.
There are two categories of countries those which experienced a slower pace and have suffered from a faster rise in the number of cases like Ethiopia, which is now reporting a slowdown.
The Africa CDC official could not confirm or deny whether the slowdown in new infection rates in Ethiopia may have been caused by the launch of a military offensive in Tigray, northern Ethiopia.
The other category of countries include those which have entered a second wave after recording consistent decrease in cases.
Nkengasong said only a rapid and timely access to the vaccine will help us to reduce the curve. “We have to use a combination of public health and public health measures to make sure that this pandemic does not become endemic in Africa.”
To ensure the criteria for eliminating the virus is reached, Nkengasong said, government and public health officials have to increase basic understanding of the imperative to ensure the community is engaged in the wearing of the masks.
“The vaccines are safe. The vaccines are the most potent protection we have against any virus. We do not know how long this vaccine will last,” Nkengasong added. (PANA/NAN)