Leaving No Country Behind: Africa’s Pathbreaking Collective Action on Vaccines

This article originally appeared on World Bank Blogs. Below is an excerpt. 

As the health systems of countries across Africa are put under increasing pressure by new waves of COVID-19, there is an urgent need to step up vaccination efforts.  Accelerating equitable access to vaccines is essential for economic recovery and saving lives in Africa.

Achieving the African Union’s targets of getting 40% of the population vaccinated by the end of this year and 60% by the middle of next year will be a great challenge because vaccination rates in Africa remain low. 

While the World Bank is doing its part – already approving 30 operations for vaccine financing and deployment in Africa totaling $2.7 billion – with 11 more on the way – much more is needed.

And that is why we welcome the partnership with the African Union’s Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) – an initiative of the African Union Commission, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Afreximbank, the AU Special Envoys for COVID-19, and UNECA – to convene all relevant players in one virtual room to discuss the roadblocks to vaccine access.

Last week, AVATT, together with the World Bank, held its second coordination meeting with 35 Ministers of Finance and Health from across Africa to identify the myriad of challenges, both in acquisition and deployment of vaccines, that countries on the continent are facing to get jabs in arms and agree upon practical solutions.

These meetings build an intensive effort with our partners to reach a vaccine financing arrangement, aimed at vaccinating over 400m people. In this context each regional and multilateral institution plays a critical role.

There are considerable benefits for countries in taking the regional route towards vaccine procurement—not only does this take everyone along, but it also achieves value for money and is more efficient than each country going alone and negotiating bilaterally with suppliers.

Read the full article here

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