Sixteen African countries have shown interest in securing COVID-19 vaccines under an African Union (AU) plan, and allocations could be announced in the next three weeks, the head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said. While many rich nations have already begun mass inoculation drives, only a few African countries have started vaccinations, and the 55-member African Union hopes to see 60 percent of the continent’s 1.3 billion people immunised in the next three years. The AU has so far secured around 670 million doses for its member states. Africa CDC Director John Nkengasong said the 16 countries had asked for a total of 114 million doses under the AU’s Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), which began work in mid-January. Nkengasong said the COVID-19 case fatality rate on the continent “is becoming very troubling” as it creeps ever higher than the global one. Nkengasong told reporters that the fatality rate on the 54-nation continent is now 2.6 percent while the global rate is 2.2 percent. Twenty African countries including South Africa and Sudan have rates higher than the global average as a resurgence of cases in parts of the continent has a far deadlier toll than the initial wave of infections last year.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA