The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that Nigeria and 5 other African countries have been selected to begin the production of Covid-19 vaccines as the continent has had limited access to jabs.
The 5 other African countries that will receive technology for the production of the vaccine include Egypt, Kenya, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia.
This disclosure was made on Friday in Brussels by the Director-General of WHO, Tedros Ghebreyesus, at a ceremony hosted by the European Council, France, South Africa, and WHO in the presence of President Macron, President Ramaphosa, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
Ghebreyesus pointed out that the first 6 countries that would receive the technology needed to produce mRNA vaccines on the African continent at the African Union summit in Brussels on Friday.
According to the WHO, they were selected as the first recipients of technology from the organisation’s global mRNA vaccine hub, in a push to ensure the African continent can make its own jabs to fight COVID and other diseases.
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What the WHO Director-General is saying
Ghebreyesus in his statement said, ‘’Today I’m delighted to announce the first six African countries that will receive technology from the hub to produce their own mRNA vaccines: Egypt, Kenya Nigeria, Senegal South Africa, and Tunisia.’’
“I was honoured to visit the Hub last week. And it’s already producing results, with Afrigen’s announcement that it has produced its own mRNA vaccine, based on publicly-available information about the composition of an existing vaccine,” Ghebreyesus said.
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“We expect clinical trials to start in the 4th quarter of this year, with approval expected in 2024. We expect the benefits of this initiative will extend far beyond #COVID19, by creating a platform for vaccines against other diseases including malaria and tuberculosis”.
“WHO will work with the companies and the government in each country to develop a roadmap for training and production, based on their needs and capacities.
“Thank you all, and we look forward to working with all of you to make this project a success, for the healthier, safer and fairer Africa”.
What you should know
- The global mRNA technology transfer hub was established in 2021 to provide a facility where low and middle-income countries can receive training on how to produce certain vaccines and the licenses to do so.
- The hub has the potential to expand manufacturing capacity for other products as well, putting countries in the driver’s seat when it comes to the kinds of vaccines and other products they need to address their health priorities.
- Tedros has always called for equitable access to vaccines globally in order to beat the pandemic and has been critical of the wealthy developed nations for buying more vaccines that they need, leaving Africa lagging behind other continents in the global vaccination effort.
"Today I’m delighted to announce the first six African countries that will receive technology from the hub to produce their own mRNA vaccines: Egypt 🇪🇬, Kenya 🇰🇪, Nigeria 🇳🇬, Senegal 🇸🇳, South Africa 🇿🇦 and Tunisia 🇹🇳"-@DrTedros #VaccinEquity pic.twitter.com/bmcUuxKPDd
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) February 18, 2022