The World Health Organisation has said Africa will need at least $9bn to obtain and distribute 1.4 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
The Immunisation and Vaccines Development Programme Coordinator, WHO, Dr. Richard Mihigo, disclosed this at the WHO Africa online press briefing on ramping up preparedness for COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in Africa on Thursday.
Mihigo said there was a need to ensure an equitable and timely distribution of the vaccines.
He said, “We will definitely need to vaccinate between 60 to 70 per cent of the African population.
“So, if you consider that we have about 1.2 to 1.3 billion people on the African continent and you take 60 per cent of that with the assumption that you will need maybe two doses per population, we are talking about close to 1.3 to 1.4 billion vaccine doses that will be needed to immunise 60 per cent of the people in Africa to reach a herd immunity.”
Mihigo disclosed that it is not just about the cost of the vaccines but the cost of delivering them and ensuring they get to the right locations.
He also added that there was no assurance that there would be enough vaccine supplies before the end of 2021.
The WHO official stated, “So, if we compute that number with the preliminary information that we are getting with these vaccine manufacturers because it is not only the cost of the vaccines. There are also additional costs that are needed to deliver those vaccines.
“We know very well that the preliminary rough estimation that is being done, we may need up to $9bn. So, this is a lot of money, a lot of funding that will be needed. First of all, we are not sure that we are going to get enough supply to immunise everybody by the end of 2021. This may spill over to the year after but also to mobilise such an amount of money, I think it will be an additional challenge.”