The World Health Organization announced on Thursday an initiative to vaccinate 40 percent of the population of each country against Covid-19 by the end of 2021 and 70 percent by mid-2022. It does this by prioritizing vaccine shipments to low-income countries.
Meanwhile, Kenya was discussing the possibility of introducing a third vaccination for fully vaccinated people to counter the dwindling immunity.
However, the Ministry of Health said it would not introduce an additional dose until the percentage of Kenyans who are fully vaccinated or who received the first dose has improved significantly.
Willis Akhwale, chairman of the National Covid- 19 Vaccines The Task Force said, “We don’t have enough doses to think about booster vaccines and this creates inequalities as few people with access get the booster, so those who have not yet received a first dose are denied.”
Although the decision to introduce the third dose is still at an early stage, a planned nationwide study is being carried out ber informed how immunity declines in vaccinated people, said Dr. Akhwale.
He said the study is being conducted by the Kenya Aids Vaccine Initiative’s Institute of Clinical Research, the Center for Epidemiological Modeling and Analysis of the University of Nairobi and CDC-Kenya.
To address the world on WHO vaccination strategy at a virtual conference, said WHO Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus; “Today the WHO launches the strategy to achieve a worldwide Covid-19 vaccination by mid-2022.”
He said that reaching the goals of 40 percent and 70 percent will require at least 11 billion vaccine doses. This is an allocation problem, not a supply problem.
“With vaccine production now close to 1.5 billion doses per month worldwide, there is enough supply to meet our goals, provided they are fairly distributed,” said he According to WHO records, more than 6.4 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide and nearly a third of the world’s population is fully vaccinated.
However, low-income countries have received less than half of the world’s vaccines . In Africa, fewer than five percent of people are fully vaccinated. Earlier this year, WHO set a goal for all countries to vaccinate 10 percent of their population by the end of September, but 56 countries failed. The failure prompted UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to join WHO chief in launching the latest strategy.
“Vaccine inequality is the best ally of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Mr Guterres. “Through dose distribution, exchange, technology transfer and other priority measures, it is possible to reduce deaths and minimize suffering.”
On Friday, Tanzania received its second batch of Sinopharm vaccines from China via the Covax facility. After receiving the 1,065,600 doses at Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam, Health Minister Dorothy Gwajima said people could now choose the vaccine they want.
“The response has been overwhelming and the first phase of the vaccination campaign is expected to be up Finished by the end of next week, “she said.