WHO Clears Way For Dispatch Of Covid Vaccines To Africa

The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved two versions of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, clearing the way for the vaccines to be shipped to African countries through the Covax scheme.

Covax is a global initiative in which countries pool their resources to support the development of vaccines with a view to ensure that all countries receive a fair supply of effective vaccines.

“Countries with no access to vaccines to date will finally be able to start vaccinating their health workers and populations at risk,” said WHO assistant-director general Mariângela Simão.

The vaccine has been found to have 63.09% efficacy and is suitable for low and middle-income countries due to easy storage requirements, WHO said.

A group of experts on immunisation assembled by WHO recommended the vaccine for all age groups above 18 years.

The vaccines are produced by AstraZeneca-SKBio in South Korea and the Serum Institute of India.

South Africa last week halted its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine after a study showed “disappointing” results against its new Covid variant.

But experts are hopeful that the vaccine will still be effective at preventing severe cases.