Alarm In Africa: Virus Surges, Vaccines Grind To ‘near halt’

A health worker picks syringes as seniors get vaccinated with the first dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine at the newly-opened mass vaccination program for the elderly at a drive-thru vaccination center in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

(AP) — The World Health Organization says COVID-19 vaccine shipments have ground to “a near halt” in Africa while virus cases have spiked 20% over the last two weeks.

South Africa alone saw a more than 60% rise in new cases last week as the country with the highest coronavirus caseload in Africa continued to face delays in its effort to roll out the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

More than 1 million J&J doses that should have already been put to use remain on hold at a pharmaceuticals plant in South Africa because of contamination concerns at a U.S. factory. The head of the Africa CDC said he expects an announcement from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on those contamination issues soon and maybe even on Friday.


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