August 5, 2021

the continent needs 20 million doses of AstraZeneca

South Sudan returns 72,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine

The country had received 132,000 doses at the end of March from Covax, the global mechanism for providing vaccines to poor countries, but it will not be able to administer them before their expiration, warned, Tuesday, May 25, Angelo Goup Thon , responsible for Covid-19 operations at the Ministry of Health.

After this return, approximately 52,000 doses will remain in the country from the same batch, which Juba hopes to be able to use before their expiration date on July 18. Only 7,996 South Sudanese, out of an estimated population of 12 million, received a dose.

Protective boots dry after being washed at an infectious disease treatment unit of the Ministry of Health in Juba, South Sudan, May 28, 2020.

According to the authorities, the deployment was hampered by logistical problems: the state of the roads and security are problematic in this country which is just emerging from a civil war. But also by the reluctance of the populations to be vaccinated. A recurring problem on the African continent.

The suspension of the AstraZeneca vaccine, especially in South Africa, has increased public mistrust. Thus, South Sudan is not the only country to have had to return its vaccines so that they are not lost. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) had also had to give up 1.3 million doses redistributed to other African countries.

Read also Covid-19: South Sudan to return 72,000 AstraZeneca vaccines to the Covax initiative

Asked about this, the director of the African Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC Africa), John Nkengasong, notably announced that an awareness campaign would be launched at the continental level to explain that “Vaccines are safe and save lives”.

For his part, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, head of the Africa office of the World Health Organization (WHO) calls on states to take measures to improve communication, through churches, women’s associations, young people, etc. It is necessary that the “Messages are transmitted to populations by people they trust”, she clarified.

Very partial resumption of Air Algeria flights

After a suspension of more than fifteen months, Algeria announced, Monday, May 24, to resume its flights from 1is June to four countries. “Three weekly flights from and to France will be provided” by Air Algérie, with two flights to and from Paris and one flight from and to Marseille, in addition to a weekly flight which will be provided from and to Turkey (Istanbul), Spain (Barcelona) and Tunisia ( Tunis), indicates a press release from the Prime Minister.

An Air Algerie Boeing 737-800.

Decided in March 2020, at the very start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the closure of borders and the suspension of commercial flights and maritime links cut many Algerians from abroad from their country of origin. In March, repatriation flights, accessible under conditions, had even been suspended due to the appearance of the English variant at the end of February in Algeria.

This long-awaited reopening remains extremely constrained, however, since, on their arrival, passengers will have to comply with a five-day confinement in a hotel chosen by the authorities. These accommodation costs as well as the screening test will be the responsibility of the travelers and payable on boarding.

This is the number of doses of AstraZeneca vaccines that the African continent needs by mid-July to administer their second injection to people already vaccinated, WHO warned in its weekly information point on Thursday, May 27. The international organization recommends an interval of eight to twelve weeks between the two injections.

In addition to this urgent need, 200 million doses are needed for the continent to be able to immunize 10% of its population by 2021. “Africa needs vaccines now. Any pause in our vaccination campaigns will lead to loss of life and loss of hope ”, said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

Start of the vaccination campaign in the Central African Republic

Officially launched Thursday, May 20, it benefits from a first batch of 60,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, supplied by the Covax mechanism. As of this date, 7,010 cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in the country, for 96 deaths. But the numbers have been rising sharply since the start of 2021. “The epidemic is spreading deep into the villages, said President Faustin Archange Touadéra, worried about a “Threat which has a disturbing destabilizing potential and whose scale is intensifying every day”.

Read also: In Africa, the scale of the Covid-19 epidemic remains a big unknown

The country, ravaged by a civil war for almost eight years, is already one of the poorest in the world. According to the United Nations, nearly half of the population of this Central African country is “Food insecure situation”, because of the coronavirus epidemic, but also because of the security situation.

Emmanuel Macron visiting South Africa

The issue of vaccine production capacities in Africa must be at the heart of the French president’s visit to South Africa, the country most affected by the pandemic, this Friday, May 28. A trip that is in line with the summit on African economies held in Paris on May 18. Emmanuel Macron had mentioned the need “To develop, through financing and industrial partnerships, a production capacity in Africa for vaccines of the adenovirus type, recombinant proteins and messenger RNA, in the coming weeks”.

Read also Between resilience and exceptional shock, the African economy facing the Covid-19 pandemic

During his weekly information point on Thursday, May 27, John Nkengasong recalled the importance of the issue for the continent, namely “Gain independence in terms of vaccine safety”. Africa imports 99% of the vaccines it needs. Only six production units exist on the continent: the network of Pasteur centers in the three Maghreb countries and in Senegal, the public company Vacsera in Egypt and the public institute Biovac in South Africa. In mid-April, the African Union announced the launch of a “ partnership for the manufacture of African vaccines »(PAVM) with the objective of creating five poles for research and manufacture of vaccines on the continent.

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