The African Union (AU) has secured an additional 400 million doses of coronavirus vaccines for the continent. Together with doses the AU has already reserved and those to be made available via the World Health Organization-backed Covax scheme, this brings the total for Africa to 1.27 billion. Africa needs about 1.5 billion doses to immunise 60% of inhabitants, the threshold for herd immunity. Most nations have not started vaccinating, lacking funds to do so. South Africa, the country on the continent worst-hit by the pandemic and battling a highly infectious new variant, is expecting a shipment of one million AstraZeneca vaccines from the Serum Institute of India to arrive next week so it can start vaccinating health workers. Morocco, having bought two million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and 500,000 doses China’s Sinopharm vaccine, is to start its vaccination campaign this week. Seychelles, a popular tourist destination before the pandemic with a population of 94,000, has already started a free vaccination programme – thanks to a donation of 50,000 doses of the Sinopharm from Abu Dhabi. It says the Indian government has also offered the island 100,000 doses of the Oxford Astra-Zeneca vaccine. Mauritius, another Indian Ocean island nation dependent on tourism, started vaccinations this week after 100,000 doses of the vaccines were donated by India. Egypt – with a population of 100 million citizens – began its rollout on Sunday, starting with doctors and nurses receiving the Sinopharm jab. The government says it has reserved more than 100 million doses from different providers.
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