Brussels [Belgium], February 18 (ANI): The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday announced that the first six African countries to receive technologies needed to produce Moderna vaccines will include Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia.
"At the European Union - African Union summit in Brussels today WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, announced the first six countries that will receive the technology needed to produce mRNA vaccines on the African continent. Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia all applied and have been selected as recipients," the WHO said in a statement.
The world health body said the Moderna technology hub will support manufacturers of vaccines by ensuring access to the necessary operating procedures and know-how to produce vaccines on a large scale and in accordance with international norms. In addition, the hub will expand production capacity not only for COVID-19 vaccines, but also for other medical products the countries need to strengthen their health systems.
"In the mid-to long-term, the best way to address health emergencies and reach universal health coverage is to significantly increase the capacity of all regions to manufacture the health products they need, with equitable access as their primary endpoint," the WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said: "This is an initiative that will allow us to make our own vaccines and that, to us, is very important. It means mutual respect, mutual recognition of what we can all bring to the party, investment in our economies, infrastructure investment and, in many ways, giving back to the continent."
According to the statement, the WHO and its African and European partners will work with the recipients to develop a roadmap and ensure the appropriate training and support so that the countries will be able to launch production of vaccines in the near future.
Although COVID-19 vaccine supplies to Africa have increased significantly over the last months, rates of vaccination are still very low on the continent, with just about 11% of the population fully vaccinated. (ANI)