Jakarta: Africa is in danger of being left behind in the rollout of covid-19 vaccines as countries in other regions strike bilateral deals, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned.
Although vaccines have been administered in 50 wealthier nations, Guinea is the sole low-income country on the continent to receive doses, with only 25 people being inoculated so far.
Meanwhile, Seychelles is the only African country to start a national vaccination campaign.
"We first, not me first, is the only way to end the pandemic. Vaccine hoarding will only prolong the ordeal and delay Africa's recovery. It is deeply unjust that the most vulnerable Africans are forced to wait for vaccines while lower-risk groups in rich countries are made safe”, said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, in a statement on Thursday.
"Health workers and vulnerable people in Africa need urgent access to safe and effective covid-19 vaccines," Moeti stated.
An international coalition known as the COVAX Facility was established to ensure all countries will have equal access to any vaccines against the new coronavirus disease.
It is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and WHO.
The COVAX Facility has secured two billion doses of vaccine from five producers, with options for over one billion more.