The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that six African countries will be the first on the continent to acquire the technology needed to produce their own vaccines against COVID-19.
Tetros Caprais, head of the health organization, made the announcement during the European Union-African Union summit in Brussels on Friday, February 18th.
The WHO said in a statement on its website that Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia have been selected as the first recipients of the technology from the Global Center for MRNA Vaccines.
mRNA is a sophisticated technology used by companies such as Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna for their Covid-19 needles.
According to Ghebreyesus, they were selected from the organization’s global mRNA vaccination center, with the aim of ensuring that the African continent can produce its own shots to fight COVID and other diseases.
“The epidemic has shown better than any other event that relying on a few companies to supply global public goods is regulatory and risky.”WHO Director-General Tetros Adanom Caprais said. “The best way to deal with health emergencies and achieve global health coverage is to dramatically increase the capacity of all sectors to produce the health products they need.”He added.
Mr. Tetros continued to call for equal access to vaccines to overcome the epidemic, and he continued to protest against the rich countries taking their own dose, making vaccines more unavailable to Africa.
The WHO is working to establish a bio-production human resource training center and training is set to begin in March. The training center is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
Of these six countries, South Africa is at the forefront: its hub is already moving commercially to produce mRNA vaccines in the laboratory.
“In the medium and long term, the best way to address health emergencies and achieve global health coverage is to ‘significantly increase’ the potential of all regions to produce the health products they need,” the WHO chairman stressed.