The United States is sending 1.2 million doses of Pfizer vaccine to Côte d’Ivoire, which is battling a peak in Covid-19 cases across the continent, a US official said on Wednesday.
“Thanks to the United States’ commitment to play a leading role in ending the pandemic everywhere, the United States is shipping 1,183,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine to Cote d’Ivoire this week,” he told the ‘AFP the head of the White House.
Shipping is handled by Covax, the distributor supported by the World Health Organization and the Gavi Vaccine Alliance.
The doses “are shipped today and will arrive in the country this weekend,” the official told AFP. “We are proud to be able to provide these safe and effective vaccines to the people of Côte d’Ivoire.
While Côte d’Ivoire has recorded less than 400 deaths from the coronavirus, according to the WHO, the West African nation is experiencing a third wave of infections sweeping the entire continent.
Less than two percent of people in Africa are fully immunized, with some countries having to destroy unused vaccines because they lack the health infrastructure to administer them or have encountered strong reluctance to immunize.
The White House said the government arm of USAID had budgeted $ 2 million in preparedness funds, including helping the government of Côte d’Ivoire “plan where the vaccines will go, strengthen chain processes. vaccine supply, monitor vaccine distribution, increase demand for vaccines with health education, and train health workers in injection safety.
– Debate on boosters –
President Joe Biden has positioned himself as a leader in international efforts to share vaccine supplies from the world’s richest countries with the rest of the world.
The Ivorian batch comes from 500 million Pfizer-BioNTech doses that were purchased this summer specifically for distribution to the African Union and 92 selected low-income countries. The United States also donated $ 2 billion to Covax.
“We are leading the world in a global immunization strategy because it is the right thing to do,” said the White House official. Biden “understands that ending this pandemic requires eliminating it worldwide.”
The latest US donation – with shipments already made to countries as far away as Vietnam and Honduras – came as the Biden administration authorized booster shots for all Americans starting next month.
U.S. officials believe another injection may be needed to supplement vaccinations against the potent Delta variant of the virus.
Aid groups have criticized the move, saying the booster shots will eat away at supplies that may be getting to parts of the world where most people have yet to take even a first dose.
“It’s a false choice,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday.
“We can do both,” she said. “We will continue to be the arsenal of vaccines around the world. We also have sufficient supply and have long planned for sufficient supply in case a recall is required. “
© 2021 AFP