Africa’s COVID vaccine campaigns hurt by India’s export ban

Al Jazeera


Several African countries lack AstraZeneca vaccines to administer second doses after India bans exports due to crisis. Africa’s vaccination campaigns to battle COVID-19 are facing significant delays because of the export ban imposed by India as it grapples with a devastating resurgence of the disease, Africa’s top health official has said. But as a result of India’s ban on exports, those countries do not have AstraZeneca vaccines to give people their second doses. South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia, and Egypt together account for about 60 percent of all infections recorded in the continent. Nkengasong said nine African countries have detected the variant that is now dominant in India.


65.24% objective
51.90% positive


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It was already around 100 million doses short of where it had planned to be when India halted exports a month ago amid a surge in infections there. She and others said it was imperative that wealthy countries and regions make good on their rhetoric and share excess vaccines now. It has so far distributed about 65 million doses of mainly the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, many of them to Africa. A spokeswoman for the GAVI vaccines alliance, which co-leads COVAX, said the facility was working hard to make up supplies. Vaccine sharing announced by EU member states has so far amounted to 11.1 million vaccines, he said, of which 9 million are being shared via COVAX.

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In South Africa, where amapiano originated, its stars are reaching new heights. South Africa has always had strong links with electronic music. Amapiano breakthrough: DJ Maphorisa (PR)Last year was something of a breakthrough for amapiano, despite the pandemic. And it has essentially become a bridge between the two biggest African music markets on the continent, which had up until then existed within their own vacuums. “Percy Tau”, from Kamo Mphela’s recently-released EP Nkulunkulu, pays tribute to the South African footballer playing Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League – the song could well be a South African answer to “Thiago Silva”.

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The study, which included data from 64 hospitals in 10 countries, is the first to offer a detailed picture of the death toll inside Africa’s critical care units. It comes amid growing fears that a shortage of vaccines has left the continent vulnerable to a surge of Covid-19, particularly from the B.1.617.2 variant first identified in India. “We could see Africa, some of the African cities, hit with a resurgence,” she told an Imperial College London virtual event. But the infection mortality rate was 10 times lower than reported in Europe and the United States, the study said, possibly due to Kenya’s young population. “Patient outcomes will continue to be severely compromised until the shortfall in critical care resources is addressed,” she added.

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Canada has extended its ban on direct flights from India and Pakistan until June 21 to help control the spread of new variants of the novel coronavirus. Passengers can still fly to Canada from India or Pakistan, but arrive in Canada via a third country. Last week, Air Canada proactively extended the flight ban from India in anticipation of the government's announcement. Air Canada does not operate to Pakistan. All incoming air travellers who test positive for the virus undergo whole genome sequencing to discover which variant it may be.