John Nkengasong, Director of Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has urged pharmaceutical companies to sell COVID-19 vaccines to African countries at discounted rates.
Nkengasong also urged them to produce locally to reduce the cost of procuring the vaccines for African countries.
In his media briefing, Nkengasong said the continent needs to inoculate its citizens as it prepares to vaccinate at least 60% of the 1.3billion population in the next two years.
The CDC director said delivery of the vaccines also has to be worked on as many African countries have only sorted buying and not how they will be delivered.
Africa is going to be aided with vaccines through the COVAX programme led by the WHO, on collaboration with other international organisations.
“The COVAX facility does not take care of delivery, it takes care of the purchase of the vaccines but the greatest challenge for any vaccination programme is how to deliver it to the needy in a timely fashion,” Nkengasong said.
Africa, according to Cyril Ramaphosa, South African President and Chairman of the African Union, needs $12bn to be fully covered in the vaccine provision.
Nkengasong said the continent is working with the African Export and Import Bank (Afrexim) to raise the funds for the delivery of the vaccines.
Early successes have been recorded with GAVI-led COVAX with its target of 2bn COVID-19 vaccine doses still on track.