Covid-19: Indian wave to prolong Covax supply delay
07 May 2021 | Health
The overwhelming Covid-19 wave that has nearly devasted India’s healthcare system has led to a significant slow-down of vaccine deliveries through the Covax facility to African countries, Gavi managing director Thabani Maphosa said yesterday.
He said this during a virtual press conference, adding that the Covax facility has successfully delivered 18 million doses of vaccines to 41 countries.
“There is a delay in the delivery of CoviShield. Vaccines are not coming as fast as we them to at this particular point. To navigate this delay, our first priority is to help countries that have already received a first delivery to receive another set of doses so that they can administer a second dose,” he said.
Herd immunity still far off
On 16 April, Namibia finally received its first batch of 24 000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccines through the Covax facility, after over six months and several postponements.
These delays - despite Namibia paying roughly N$29 million of the N$193 million - prompted the health ministry to reach out directly to vaccine manufacturers, but these negotiations have yet to yield fruit.
The vaccines on order will allow healthcare workers to immunise approximately 508 200 people, or 20% of the population.
This, however, falls short of the 60% to 80% of the population that needs to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
So far, Namibia has inoculated just over 27 000 people using Sinopharm and CoviShield/Astra Zeneca vaccines donated by the Chinese and Indian governments respectively.
Indian strain on the continent
Meanwhile, the Indian strain of the virus which has devastated the Indian healthcare system has found its way to the African shores and has already been discovered in Kenya and Uganda.
The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) regional director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, yesterday said there is potential for a surge in cases on the continent and that Africa is observing with great concern the heart-breaking situation in India.
She, however, pointed out that the situation in India can be avoided from happening here if African governments do their part with policies and legislation and continue prohibiting public and religious gatherings, which have become hotspots for infections.
Moeti added that the current constraints on vaccine accessibility can be solved if countries with surplus doses share their doses with those in need.