Hoarding COVID vaccine will prolong ordeal, delay Africa’s recovery, warns WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Africa has cautioned that vaccine hoarding will only prolong the ordeal of COVID-19 and delay Africa’s recovery.

Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, said it would be deeply unjust if the most vulnerable Africans were forced to wait for vaccines while lower-risk groups in rich countries are made safe.

Moeti, who spoke at a press conference on Thursday on the rollout of COVID-19 vaccine in Africa, stressed that the continent faces a second wave of the pandemic with more than 3.3 million cases and 81,000 lives sadly lost.

“The first epidemic peak in July was surpassed in December and cases are continuing to accelerate at a significantly faster pace,” Moeti said.

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“While it was always important to get access to the vaccines, it’s now more important than ever. What we are seeing now globally is not what we had hoped for. We first, not me first, is the only way to end the pandemic,” she said.

Moeti said the pandemic would only be brought to an end through global solidarity.

“The COVAX Facility – co-led by CEPIvaccines, Gavi and WHO – is laying the groundwork for equitable access to the vaccines,” she said.

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