Africa Left with Low Option amid Worsening Number of Covid Cases

As the outbreak of the disease worsens across many parts of the continent, South Africa's presidency said, Africa has few possibilities to procure Covid-19 vaccines. Between March and the end of this year, Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE offered to supply Africa with 50 million Covid-19 vaccines for health staff, the Presidency said in a recent statement. Moderna Inc. has no supplies for Africa, while AstraZeneca Plc has no shots for the continent in 2021 and has instructed the African Union to negotiate on behalf of AstraZeneca with the Serum Institute of India Ltd., which produces the vaccine.

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa is the chairman of the African Union. Ramaphosa's comment came from health leaders, trade unions and opposition parties after days of withering criticism in South Africa over the country's vaccine strategy. While four vaccine trials are underway in the region, through the Covax programme, which is intended to ensure equal access to the vaccines, South Africa has only arranged to buy enough shots for 10 percent of its population of 60 million people. These are likely in the second quarter to start arriving. There are several African countries with their own vaccine procurement plans.