Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia are the first African countries to receive technology needed to produce mRNA vaccines from the World Health Organization. Two of the vaccines used in the fight against COVID-19 are mRNA vaccines.
WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced the award Friday in Brussels at the European Union-African Union summit.
"No other event like the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that reliance on a few companies to supply global public goods is limiting, and dangerous," Tedros said. "In the mid- to long-term, the best way to address health emergencies and reach universal health coverage is to significantly increase the capacity of all regions to manufacture the health products they need, with equitable access as their primary endpoint."
More than 80% of the population of the African continent has yet to receive a single dose of the COVID vaccine. "Much of this inequity has been driven by the fact that globally, vaccine production is concentrated in a few mostly high-income countries," said Tedros.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports that it has received a document that says the Biden administration will "surge" more than $250 million to 11 African countries for coronavirus vaccine campaigns. The countries slated to receive the "intensive support" are: Angola, Ivory Coast, Eswatini — formerly known as Swaziland, Ghana, Lesotho, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reported early Friday that it has recorded more than 420 million global COVID cases and nearly 6 million deaths. The center said 10.3 billion vaccines have been administered.