HQ Africa: Vaccine Watch Desk

CovidHQAfrica Desk
February 21, 2021
HQ Africa: Vaccine Watch Desk

A weekly snapshots of what is the latest in vaccine news. We tap into HQ sources and partners that give us insight into what's happening on the continent's vaccine front. Our team pulls together stories of interest from other publications. Here are this week's highlights:

  • South African immunotherapy laboratory, GenLab has developed Africa‚Äôs first COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine, Shantivax, is in pre-clinical testing and was developed in partnership with Danish biotechnology company Immunitrack.

  • Ghana becomes the first African country to receive vaccines from the COVAX facility. The first shipment of 600,000 vaccines arrived in Accra this week.

  • Tanzania's president finally acknowledges that the country has a coronavirus problem. President John Magufuli urged citizens to wear face masks after months of silence around Covied-19 infections and deaths. Who Chief, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged the government to take action to safeguard Tanzania and its neighbours.

  • Coronavirus deaths on the continent continue to rise. According to TIME half of the recorded deaths are caused by the new variant identified in South Africa.

  • Nigeria's National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has approved the use of AstraZeneca in the country. The first doses of the vaccine are expected to arrive by the end of February.

  • Egyptian Minister of Health and Population announced that the country has secured 100 million doses of various coronavirus vaccines. Egypt is one of the first African countries to begin vaccinating priority groups.

  • Senegal's vaccination campaign has kicked off with 200,000 doses of China's Sinopharm vaccine. The country will also receive 1.3 million more doses from COVAX. President Macky Sall said,: "The urgency today is to protect our health workers on the frontline against the pandemic. It is also to protect people over 60 years old and those living with comorbidity. We will begin vaccinating people in these three categories as they are the priority."

  • Reuters reports that Ghana us expecting approximately 350,000 vaccines by the end of the week.

  • Uganda is opting for speed. It will administer the AstraZeneca vaccine eight weeks apart despite studies showing higher efficacy when administering the vaccine 12 weeks apart.

  • No one is safe until everyone is safe. The COVAX facility for the equitable distribution of vaccines has released an interim distribution forecast to make sure that all countries have access. If some countries cannot secure their own supplies, it's bad for us all.

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Brought to you by Mastercard Foundation in partnership with Zain Verjee Group, NAMU Communications, Africa CDC