It has become even more challenging for some African countries to follow up on the second vaccine dose due to the global shortage, says Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
It has become even more challenging for some African countries to follow up on the second vaccine dose due to the global shortage, says Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Covid-19 vaccine shortage is hindering Africa’s efforts, says President Masisi

By Molaole Montsho Time of article published Jul 14, 2021

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Rustenburg – The shortage of Covid-19 vaccines is hindering African countries in their efforts to vaccinate their populations, Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi said.

"The global shortage of vaccines is making it difficult for African countries, including Botswana, to vaccinate their populations. It has become even more challenging for some of our fellow African countries to follow up on the second vaccination of their people," he said on Tuesday night during a televised national address.

Malawi has stopped its vaccination programme recently after running out of doses.

"The Covid-19 vaccination remains paused, hence no doses were administered over the past 24 hours. A total of 428,407 vaccine doses has been administered in the country so far," Malawian Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda said in a statement on Tuesday.

"…Let me inform the public that we are anticipating a consignment of 192,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine in the next few days under the dose-sharing initiative and more doses are expected in August under the Covax facility," she said.

Namibia temporarily suspended administering its first doses of Covid-19 vaccines two weeks ago after supplies ran low, according to reports.

The remaining doses of the AstraZeneca and Sinopharm vaccines were reserved for people getting their second doses.

Daily newspaper New Era reported that the Ministry of Health on Monday said some 250,000 doses of Sinopharm were expected to arrive in Namibia by the end of this week.

Masisi said the relentless attack of the Covid-19 pandemic in Botswana and the rest of Africa has pushed both human and financial resources to the limit, particularly as a result of the continued emergence of new and more transmissible variants which were more contagious, the Delta variant being the latest.

"Thus, at the beginning of this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the third wave of Covid-19 infection rate could increase exponentially.“

Citing WHO findings, he said that in the week ending July 4, Africa experienced its “worst pandemic ever”, with more than 251,000 new cases recorded in one week.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday said the African Union and the European Union have reached a historic agreement that will significantly improve the supply of vaccines to South Africa and countries on the African continent.

"Through this agreement, Aspen will be delivering over 17 million Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses to South Africa and other African countries over the next three months, commencing in late July. This number will double monthly from October," Ramaphosa said.

"We are negotiating that in time the drug substance itself would be produced here in South Africa, so that we have a fully owned African vaccine manufactured on African soil in a number of countries on our continent.

"We welcome the announcement by President Joe Biden that the United States is donating 15 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to African countries through the Covax facility," he said.

African News Agency (ANA)

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