AFRICA – Africa is set to accelerate COVID-19 vaccination programs following the introduction of a new system of distributing COVID-19 vaccines.

African nations are now able to request the quantity and time period within which COVID-19 vaccines are needed directly from WHO as opposed to previously when WHO would send vaccine doses to countries as they became available.

It has been a year since Africa received its first COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX Facility, a global effort to distribute doses equitably that is led partly by the WHO, and 400 million doses have been administered which is the most robust COVID-19 vaccine rollout on the continent in a single year.

Africa’s vaccination rate still lags behind the rest of the world with only about 16 percent of people in the continent having received at least one dose compared to over 50 percent in every other continent.

The change in the distribution system has resulted to countries significantly ramping up COVID-19 vaccination efforts in line with the continent’s expectation to reach the target of vaccinating 70 percent of the population by August 2024.

Consequently, efforts to get COVID-19 vaccine doses into people’s arms have intensified as vaccine supplies have increased.

Vaccines Introduction Officer at WHO Regional Office for Africa Phionah Atuhebwe said it seemed like the global COVID-19 vaccination target could be met by early 2023.

Some African countries including Kenya, the Ivory Coast and Ghana have rapidly accelerated the rate at which they are vaccinating their populations over a short period of time,” noted the current Vaccines Introduction Officer, WHO Regional Office for Africa.

However, difficulties in storing COVID-19 vaccines and delivering them to towns and villages have slowed the overall program while some countries have reported that their supplies have expired before they can be administered.

The Head of Africa Centers for Disease Control, Dr. John Nkengasong, suggested that it would sometimes be necessary to pause COVID-19 vaccine donations to prevent doses from going to waste.

He clarified that he was not calling for a total halt to COVID-19 donations but rather a coordinated approach that ensured vaccines arrived at the right time to avoid the risk of sending so much that it gets expired.

COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, misinformation and indifference from people who have greater priorities have also posed problems.

Ethiopian airlines deliver 400m COVID-19 vaccine doses to over 35 nations

In recent developments, Ethiopian Airlines has transported close to 400 million doses of COVID 19 vaccines to over 35 countries across the globe.

Ethiopian Airlines received IATA’s Center of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics (CEIV Pharma) certification as an airline and ground handling in December 2021.

The first African carrier to receive IATA’s CEIV Pharma certification is the fastest growing Airline in Africa which will further provide efficient and effective transportation of pharmaceuticals.

The airlines pharma network includes Brussels, Shanghai, Johannesburg, Paris, Seoul, Lagos, Lusaka, Beijing, Hong Kong, Maastricht, Chicago and Addis Ababa.

In its seventy-five years of operation, Ethiopian has become one of the continent’s leading carriers, unrivalled in efficiency and operational success.

Ethiopian airlines command the lion’s share of the Pan-African passenger and cargo network operating the youngest and most modern fleet to more than 130 international passenger and cargo destinations across five continents.

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