WHO disappointed that politics got in the way of achieving 40% COVID-19 vaccination coverage

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it’s disappointing that politics and populism got in the way of achieving the 40% COVID-19 vaccination coverage globally by the end of the year.

During the weekly briefing, Director-General, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, did not mince his words as he summarised the last two years of the coronavirus pandemic.

He blamed the failure to reach the target on what he called ‘vaccine apartheid’ which saw low-income nations being denied vaccines for several months.

Ghebreyesus says the acute phase of the pandemic can only end if 70% of the global population is vaccinated by July next year.

COVID-19 | WHO briefing on coronavirus pandemic by Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus:

Meanwhile, South African Government signed an agreement with the African Vaccination Acquisition Trust (AVAT) to donate more than 2 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccines to African countries.

The value of the vaccines amounts to more than R280 million. The donation by the South African Government will be produced by the Aspen Pharma manufacturing plant in Gqeberha.

The vaccine will be made available to African countries through the African Medical Suppliers Platform over the next year.

AVAT was formed following the establishment of the African Union’s COVID-19 Task Team in 2020 by President Cyril Ramaphosa as the then Chairperson of the African Union (AU).

Africa aims to vaccinate a minimum of 60% of the continent’s population.

AVAT has entered into a direct purchase of over 500 million doses, mostly produced in South Africa.