By Mary Hearty

“Africa will get 30 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines beginning March, 2021. These are intended to prioritize healthcare workers and other high priority groups, and then expanding to cover additional vulnerable groups,” Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization Regional Director for Africa, said during a recent media briefing on COVID-19.

Data collected by Our World in Data on COVID-19 vaccination shows that as of January 21, 2021, about 45 million doses have been issued in 10 countries since December 2020.

The countries include, United States, China, United Kingdom, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Germany, Italy, Russia, India and France.

In Israel, about 26 percent of the population has received at least the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines, according to the ministry of Health.

The country approved use of Pfizer vaccine as the principal vaccine and Moderna vaccine initially for housebound.

“Our top priority group for the first roll out of the vaccines are medical staff, then residents and caregivers in long term care, nursing homes, assisted living and psychiatric facilities, people above 60 years as it gradually decreases to those above 40 years, severely immunosuppressed, and their household members,” Mitchell Schwaber from ministry of health, Israel said during a global webinar on Delivery Strategy, Infection Prevention and Control Procedures for COVID-19 vaccination.

During vaccination, vaccinators and those being vaccinated must wear masks, work spaces must be kept clean, and skin of those being vaccinated must be disinfected prior to injection. After vaccination, those vaccinated must be put under immediate observation for behavioral change at the vaccination venue while distanced.

Currently, Israel is reported to be leading the world in vaccine distribution. Schwaber explained during the global webinar how Israel managed to accomplish that.

“There is Universal Healthcare for all, people trust their health funds, we focus more on preventative care, Israel knows emergencies, a lot of people work for the health funds, this is not the first time the health funds have vaccinated many people, medical records are computerized immediately,” Schwaber said.

Data from the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in the US on COVID-19 vaccine distribution and initiation as of January 20, 2021 show that about 31 million doses have been distributed, whereas, 15.7 million doses have been administered.

According to the CDC there is a need to instill vaccine confidence among the public. This is because surveys from November to December 2020 showed that the proportion intending to receive vaccine ranged across surveys was 41 to 86 percent.

Dr Vinod Bura, epidemiologist, medical officer and IVD WHO Indonesia, acknowledged during the webinar that “we have also successfully rolled out the vaccines through the help of community leaders. They have been promoting the vaccines by being vaccinated first. They have also helped in controlling the population and setting up hand cleaning stations.”

In 2021, The Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator’s (ACT – A) main objective is to reduce COVID-19 mortality and severe disease, protect health systems and restore societies and economies through accelerated development, equitable allocation and scaled up delivery of 2 billion doses, 245 million therapeutics and 500 million diagnostics globally.

The ACT– A led by GAVI, is a partnership structure working with governments, civil societies and industries to drive global collaboration to end the COVID-19 pandemic.