The world risks a “moral catastrophe” if COVID-19 vaccinations are delayed in Africa while wealthier regions inoculate their entire populations, the head of the continent’s disease control body said on Thursday.
The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hopes significant vaccination campaigns on the continent will begin in April, its head, John Nkengasong, told reporters.
“That’s a long way to go given that this virus transmits very quickly,” he said, adding that in Africa, “the second wave is here with a vengeance”.
Cases of the new coronavirus increased by nearly 19% since last week and deaths increased by 26%, according to Africa CDC data. Africa has recorded 2.7 million coronavirus infections and 64,000 deaths as of Thursday, it says.
South Africa, where a new variant of the virus has been detected, recorded 82,000 cases in the past week, he said.
“We cannot delay, we need those vaccines and need them now,” Nkengasong said.
The major blockers to vaccinations beginning in Africa are global availability of doses and financing, he said.