The West Africa Health Organisation says that vaccinating 27 per cent of the population through the COVAX vaccine donation, and another 20 per cent through others will not get the content the 60 to 70 per cent desired herd immunity.
WACO says it will set up a coronavirus vaccine revolving fund in West Africa to ensure more funding for vaccination in the region.
The Director General of WAHO, Prof. Standley Okolo, stated this on Friday in Abuja at an event to hand over critical medical materials to the Economic Community of West African States.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the handover event was organised by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH on behalf of the German Government and the European Union.
Okolo said that the revolving fund will provide technical cooperation to national immunisation programmes and to improve the region’s COVID-19 vaccine demands, planning and forecasting capacity.
He added that the fund will also strengthen supply chain management and ensure financing and sustainability.
“We are looking forward to setting up a vaccine revolving fund. As you all know, there will always be a deficit in terms of the coverage of our population with the COVID-19 vaccine and that is why the heads of state decided that we should set up the fund.
“When established, heads of state will ask governments to contribute, invite partners to contribute, including indigenous private sector and use a multiplicity of sources to plug the gap.
“Vaccinating 27 per cent through COVAX and another 20 per cent through others will not get us the 60 to 70 per cent population required to get herd immunity.
“This is the situation that we are facing now and this is one of the tasks that the president of ECOWAS and myself have been charged to set up.
“We will do something about that within the next fortnight and come back to our partners for their support,” he explained.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, applauded the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit and the European Union for their generosity to the ECOWAS region “during this challenging time of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“This is not the first time your organisation is showing generosity to the region and this gesture is worthy of commendation.
“WAHO has worked hard to tackle the considerable task of coordinating the entire process of bringing all parties together and ensuring timely delivery of medical supplies to member states,” Ehanire said.
NAN reports that the critical materials handed over included personal protective equipment, equipment for intensive care units such as oxygen compressors.
The equipment were the first of two consignments of more to follow that would be handed over to the ECOWAS Commission for distribution to the 15 member states.