Six African nations to get own mRNA jab production
Six African countries have been chosen to establish their own mRNA vaccine production, the World Health Organization said Friday, with the continent largely shut out of access to Covid jabs, News.Az reports citing AFP.
Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia were selected as the first recipients of technology from the WHO's global mRNA vaccine hub, in a push to ensure Africa can make its own jabs to fight the Covid and other diseases.
"More than 80 percent of the population of Africa is yet to receive a single dose. Much of this inequity has been driven by the fact that globally, vaccine production is concentrated in a few mostly high-income countries," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a ceremony on the sidelines of an EU-Africa summit in Brussels.
"One of the most obvious lessons of the Covid-19 pandemic, therefore, is the urgent need to increase local production of vaccines, especially in low and middle-income countries."
Tedros has continually called for equitable access to vaccines in order to beat the pandemic, and rails against the way wealthy nations have hogged doses, leaving Africa lagging behind other continents in the global vaccination effort.
Currently only one percent of the vaccines used in Africa are produced on the continent of some 1.3 billion people.
The WHO set up a global mRNA technology transfer hub in South Africa last year to support manufacturers in low- and middle-income countries to produce their own vaccines.