Biden to announce US vaccine doses for Cameroon, CAR, Gambia, Lesotho, Niger, Senegal and Zambia

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The United States is donating through the COVAX facility, co-managed by the World Health Organization, CEPI and GAVI. This will be the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) single injection vaccine. Countries included are: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gambia, Lesotho, Niger, Senegal and Zambia

Senior Biden officials are stepping up diplomatic and humanitarian engagement with the continent, after years of drift under the Trump administration.

“Having spent most of my career in the public service working on the African continent – Senegal being the first country in Africa where I set foot for the first time – and on issues related to Africa, I know the difference that American aid can make for our African partners and in the lives of people across the continent, ”said Dana Banks, Senior Director of the National Security Council for Africa.

“This jurisdiction’s vaccine sharing initiative is yet another demonstration of that commitment,” adds Banks.

Who gets what

This stock of vaccine doses is delivered to the following countries:

  • Cameroon 303,050 doses of J&J vaccine
  • Lesotho 302,400 doses of J&J vaccine
  • Central African Republic 302,400 doses of J&J vaccine
  • Gambia 151,200 doses of J&J vaccine
  • Senegal 151,200 doses of J&J vaccine
  • Niger 151,200 doses of J&J vaccine
  • Zambia 151,200 doses of J&J vaccine

The US announcement comes as China ramps up its own vaccine shipments to the mainland.

China sent 4 million more doses to African countries last week, according to Bridge Beijing’s weekly vaccine tracking report, reports The China Africa project.

But the Biden administration tries to point that this is not part of a geopolitical standoff.

A White House official said The Africa report that the 25 million vaccines that the United States contributes to the COVAX stockpile destined for Africa – which is almost the 27.9 million doses of vaccine that Beijing has promised the continent – were not intended to obtain favors or to obtain concessions.

“Our vaccines do not come with conditions,” said the official. “We do this with the sole aim of saving lives. As the President said: The United States will be the global arsenal of vaccines in our common fight against this virus. “

The Covid-19 continues to multiply on the continent

Here is the dynamics of the virus in the seven countries in which the United States provides vaccines:

Cameroon

Cameroon has been confronted simultaneously with the Covid-19 pandemic and cholera epidemics over the past year. There are currently more than 81,000 confirmed cases and approximately 1,330 deaths.

In April, the country received 591,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine – 200,000 being the Chinese Sinopharm and 391,000 being the Oxford AstraZeneca. However, only about a fifth of them have been administered.

The Cameroonian Ministry of Public Health has also approved the sale of a herbal remedy made by Catholic priest Bishop Samuel Kleda to treat people with Covid-19. The government authorized the concoction as an “adjuvant” to combat the virus.

CAR

The Central African Republic has to date 7,142 confirmed cases of Covid-19, including 98 deaths. The country is also experiencing the Alpha variant, which is 50-75% more contagious than the usual strains and affects children more easily, although it does not tend to lead to serious illness.

In early July, China donated vaccines to the country. Pierre Somse, Minister of Health, declared: “Thanks to this timely donation of vaccines, the CAR is better equipped in its fight against the coronavirus. “

Gambia

The third wave hit the small country of 2.3 million inhabitants in early July. The government warned that preventive mask-wearing and social distancing measures were in full force. Violators face a fine of 1,000 Dalasis ($ 20).

He started vaccinating in March with the arrival of AstraZeneca, but on June 17 the government announced that it had run out of vaccines.

Banjul then approved Sinopharm and started vaccinating on July 17, but due to limited stock, only one vaccination site is opened on a first come, first served basis.

To date, the country has recorded 6,920 cases and 190 deaths. The health ministry said it recorded a 13% spike in cases between the week of July 5 and July 12.

As of July 19, 40,810 doses of vaccine had been administered.

Lesotho

The third wave of the pandemic has brought a new variant of the virus, the beta variant, to Lesotho. Identified in the neighboring country of South Africa in August 2020, this strain is spreading faster than previous ones and is believed to have a higher risk of reinfection.

Lesotho currently has 12,398 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with 339 deaths. The Johnson & Johnson and the AstraZeneca in Oxford are both available in the country.

Niger

With a population of 23.9 million and the youngest in the world, Niger has been relatively spared from the pandemic.

In total, he had 5,590 cases and 194 deaths. The country has generally avoided any major epidemic. He received 400,000 Sinopharm vaccines from China and 25,000 AstraZeneca from India. As of July 19, 401,133 vaccines had been administered.

To date, no restrictions are in place and the businesses are fully open, with some even making a profit.

As Sani Issoufou, the Minister of Oil, said: “Here, we still live as if it was in 2019.”

Senegal

Senegal was doing quite well as it had sealed off its borders and suspended all international flights from the start of the pandemic in 2020 to most non-nationals and non-essential travelers. It was also one of the first countries to impose a curfew. After its renewed state of emergency expired in January in March, Senegal began to ease restrictions, namely that borders are open to non-nationals and without curfews.

If the wearing of a mask remains compulsory, with the approach of the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha, all caution seems to have been swept away by the wind in this predominantly Muslim country of 16.3 million inhabitants. Before the holidays, the government had warned against travel.

President Macky Sall has said he is ready to take the necessary steps if the infection rate increases, including re-closing the borders.

Senegal began its vaccination campaign on February 23, 2021 with 82 injections of Sinopharm. He then received a batch from US President Biden who announced he would deliver a new tranche of vaccines for seven African countries through the COVAX program: in March. It was one of the first African countries to receive vaccines under the COVAX initiative.

823,610 doses have been administered to date.

The country has currently hit a record 950 cases per day. In total, he had 52,671 cases, with 1,227 deaths. As of July 19, 52,671 doses of vaccine had been administered.

Zambia

Zambia is still in the grip of its third wave of coronavirus, with around 1,300 new cases reported per day.

Some 2.8% of Zambians have received at least one dose of vaccine, with 2 lots of AstraZeneca vaccine delivered so far through the Covax facility.

Kennedy Malama, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Health responsible for technical services, said new doses of J&J vaccine would be transported quickly to rural provinces, where demand for vaccines is high, “as soon as possible”.

Malama also said a fourth wave could arrive in Zambia at the end of the year.

Patent protection

The United States also announced its support for calls for the lifting of intellectual property protections at the WTO in early May, in order to allow a major global boost to the production of Covid-19 vaccines.

A major setback by pharmaceutical companies has so far hampered these efforts.


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