Guinea has become the first country in Africa to secure a consignment of the Sputnik V vaccine, with the country expecting at least 400 000 doses of the drug next week. This according to Dr. Mohamed Lamine Yansane, Senior adviser to the Minister of Health in Guinea who was updating journalists during a World Health Organisation Briefing on vaccine roll-out efforts in the continent. "On an experimental basis we have received 60 doses of the Sputnik vaccine. The 60 doses have been used in Guinea, the persons have been monitored, and there have been no side effects," said Yansane. "We…
Guinea has become the first country in Africa to secure a consignment of the Sputnik V vaccine, with the country expecting at least 400 000 doses of the drug next week.
This according to Dr. Mohamed Lamine Yansane, Senior adviser to the Minister of Health in Guinea who was updating journalists during a World Health Organisation Briefing on vaccine roll-out efforts in the continent.
“On an experimental basis we have received 60 doses of the Sputnik vaccine. The 60 doses have been used in Guinea, the persons have been monitored, and there have been no side effects,” said Yansane.
“We believe that the vaccine was very well tolerated and our regulatory authority has authorised it, and so by next week there will be 400 000 doses delivered to Guinea. There is also a pledge of 400 000 vaccine doses to be donated by China.”
Meanwhile, the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) announced on Friday it received an offer of 300 million Sputnik V vaccines from the Russian Federation. This included a financing package for any member states wishing to secure the vaccine. The team was set up by the AU to help member states reach 60% of the adult population.
“We are grateful to receive the Sputnik V vaccines from the Russian Federation and tremendously proud to be able to offer them on the AMSP for our AU Member States,” said Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (ACDC) Dr John Nkengasong.
“Bilateral and private sector partnerships such as these are critical in our efforts to bring the COVID-19 pandemic to an end”.
While details, including clinical and technical information, are now accessible on the Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP), Sputnik V vaccines would be available for a period of 12 months commencing by May 2021. On Friday, the 55 African Union member states were all invited to visit www.AMSP.africa to use their national access code, issued by ministers of health, to start the pre-order process.
This was against the backdrop of calls by unions and other left-wing organisations calling for South Africa to speed up its negotiations with Russia to have the drug rolled out in South Africa, which had the most infections and deaths from the pandemic in Africa.
The vaccine was currently being tested against the dominant South African variant of the virus in a number of sites overseas.
CEO of the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority Dr Boitumelo Semete, however, shut down rumours that the body was processing a licence application by the vaccine’s manufacturer.
“SAHPRA has NOT received documentation for the SputnikV vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Institute in Russia as has been reported. SAHPRA can confirm that a pre-submission meeting was held. At this stage it is work in progress,” she said.
Healthcare sector union Nehawu, on the other hand, warned that time was running out for South Africa to provide enough vaccines to meet its herd immunity goals this year.
“We need the speedy procurement of those vaccines, not only the Sputnik but also from the Chinese and the Cubans. Our primary focus need not be only on America and certain countries, but also these countries which are on the cutting edge of innovations such as Cuba. At the moment we only have 80 thousand doses, and the government is aiming to vaccinate 40 million people, so we are still far from where we need to be.”
But the Democratic Alliance warned that following the fracas which followed the arrival of 1 million AstraZeneca doses earlier this month, greater due diligence was needed in the procurement process.
The party’s shadow health minister Siviwe Gwarube said it was important to consider three main criteria:
- Efficacy against the South African variant of the vaccine,
- And whether it fit into South Africa’s specific situation.
” It’s very important that we consider three criteria. The one is that we need to ensure the efficacy of said vaccine against the 501Y.V2 variant. This is very important because that variant is very dominant in South Africa and in order for us to prevent further mutations, we need to make sure that we vaccinate people with a vaccine that will be effective for that variant for us stem the spread and the mutation of the virus.”
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