Syringe shortfall threatens Africa’s COVID vaccine drive

Africa’s struggle to inoculate people against COVID-19 risks being hobbled by a shortage of syringes just as supplies of vaccines flood into the continent, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

UNICEF, the United Nation’s fund for children, is predicting an “imminent shortfall” of up to 2.2 billion of the single-use syringes used to give jabs, WHO Africa said.

These include auto-disable syringes used to administer Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID vaccine, it said.

The shortages will remain through at least the first quarter of next year, it said in a weekly online briefing.

“Early next year, COVID-19 vaccines will start pouring into Africa, but a scarcity of syringes could paralyse progress,” Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional director for Africa warned.

“Syringe production both globally and locally must be stepped up. Countless African lives depend on it,” she added.

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