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Africa’s $2.6-billion kitty for future pandemics

Africa’s $2.6-billion kitty for future pandemics

JENNIFER RIGBY SEVERAL billions of dollars left in a scheme to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to the world's poorest could be diverted to prepare for other pandemics or to support vaccine manufacturing in Africa, the scheme's partners said. The COVAX initiative, run by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), has $2.6 billion left in its coffers as the emergency phase of the pandemic draws to a close, according to documents seen by Reuters and two sources close to the scheme. The initiative is set to wind up at the end…
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Egypt expects vaccines within weeks

Egypt expects vaccines within weeks

EGYPT expects to start receiving COVID-19 vaccines through the Geneva-based GAVI vaccine alliance in the coming weeks, the health minister said yesterday. "GAVI will provide us with 20% of our needs. It will give us the urgent needs during the first quarter," Hala Zayed said in a televised briefing. "Within two or three weeks maximum there will be the beginning of the influx of GAVI vaccines, which largely will be AstraZeneca (vaccines)," she added. GAVI and the World Health Organisation have set up the COVAX initiative to secure fair vaccine access for lower and middle-income countries. Zayed said Egypt also…
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Kenya’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout has got off to a slow start: the gaps, and how to fix them

Kenya’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout has got off to a slow start: the gaps, and how to fix them

KENYA has started the first phase of its COVID-19 vaccination strategy. This was made possible by the delivery of just over one million AstraZeneca vaccines that arrived in two batches. One batch came via the global COVAX initiative, which aims to provide equal access to COVID-19 vaccines, and a 100,000 shot donation came from the Indian government. CATHERINE KYOBUTUNGI, Executive Director, African Population and Health Research Center Kenya’s first phase is meant to run until the end of June 2021. The initial plan was to vaccinate high priority groups, such as frontline healthcare workers. A few weeks into the rollout,…
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African countries must muscle up their support and fill massive R&D gap

African countries must muscle up their support and fill massive R&D gap

IN a recent open letter to international funders for research and development, we highlighted multiple power imbalances and appealed to the funders to help build a more equitable ecosystem. JANET MIDEGA, PhD, Senior Research Advisor, Wellcome Trust, KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme CATHERINE KYOBUTUNGI, Executive Director, African Population and Health Research Center Emelda Okiro, Head of Population Health Unit, KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme FREDROS OKUMU, Director of Science, Ifakara Health Institute IFEYINWA ANIEBO, Research fellow (Harvard Takemi fellow), Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health NGOZI ERONDU, Senior Scholar with the Global Health Policy & Politics Initiative at the…
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India’s halt to vaccine exports ‘very problematic’ for Africa

India’s halt to vaccine exports ‘very problematic’ for Africa

GUILIA PARAVICINI AN extended halt to exports of COVID-19 vaccines from India, where authorities are battling a wave of domestic infections, risks derailing vaccination efforts already underway in Africa, one of the continent's top health officials said yesterday. India stopped vaccine exports a month ago and, according to a Reuters report earlier on Tuesday, is now unlikely to resume major exports before October, dealing a major setback to the global COVAX initiative on which many poor countries rely. Africa has lagged far behind other regions due to supply issues and meagre financial resources but had planned to vaccinate 30-35% of…
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