Somaliland: WHO Donates Oxygen Generators as Absence of 2nd Covid-19 Jab Glares

Globalizing the COVID Vaccine

Somalilandsun:  The Ministry of health has acquired capabilities to generate sufficient medical purpose oxygen for use in all corners of Somaliland.

This follows a donation  of a state-of-the-art oxygen generator to the minstry of health by the World Health Organisation-WHO

During the Generator’s handover in Hargeisa the Somaliland minister of health  Omar Ali Abdillahi and WHO officials also  discussed training for the staff who will operate the machine and prepare a suitable site for the generator.

The state-of-the-art generator is the first of its kind in the country and is intended to supplement the existing Oxygen generators in the country.

While the country has acquired extra medical oxygen production capabilities specifically for the control of Corona virus infection, access to Covid-19 vaccines is a growing concern.

Somaliland Minister of Health Omar Ali Abdillahi
, reveals resurgence of Covid-19 file photo

Though new infections are reported almost on a daily basis they remain very low but the governent is not taking the threat of a large wave lightly.

But the main constrain to the Somaliland response to the pandemic remains access to vaccines in which only 60,000 AstraZeneca doses have been availed and administered.

The  doses were  availed through the COVAX Facility earlier in the year and the government in Hargeisa embarked on a nationwide Vacination campaign,  with frontline workers as priority.

But according  to a source “while the entire consignment was successful  disposed the problem now glaring is a non existent and mandatory second jab.

Somaliland has depleted the 60000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine availed by the COVAX facility

To achieve the 86.6% virus infection  prevention  effucacy,  the rrecommended AstraZeneca dosage is two doses given intramuscularly (0.5ml each) with an interval of 8 to 12 weeks.

The COVAX is a WHO and  partners ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.

So far the facility shipped over 54 million COVID-19 vaccines to 121 participants among then the 60,000 consignment to Somaliland

While somaliland is glaring to the possibility of not achieving the prevention efficacy due to the unavailability of the mandatory second jab, she is not alone.

The same risk engulfs the other 121 beneficiaries of the facility whose main vaccine supply is the Oxford-AstraZeneca

With a huge global demand the COVAX facility’s distribution depended and still relies on the India produced  AstraZeneca .

But with the huge numbers of new infections in India reported to  be a quarter of global total Covid-19 cases,the government in New Delhi is prioritizing it’s own people this suspended exports of the vaccine.

So as the new wave in India continues to bite thence AstraZeneca vaccine delivery to COVAX limbo, the Somaliland authorities must explore other avenues.

Though it is imperative that those who received the first AstraZeneca jab be availed the mandatory second one ,timely,  other types of Covid-19 vaccines are out there .

Low cost Chinese Sinopharm vaccine has received WHO approval for emergency Covid-19 use

Since financial muscle denies Somaliland access to the  highly priced  Johnson & Johnson and Moderna.vaccines turning to the East for the Chinese Sinopharm and Russia’s Sputnik vaccines might be the best solution.

Sinopharm has already been given to millions of people in China and elsewhere is the first vaccine developed by a non-Western country to get WHO backing.

While Sputnik is yet to he approved by WHO its efficacy cannot be denied if the over 60 countries  in Europe,  The Americas, Africa and Asia using it is anything to go by, including AstraZeneca producing and exporting India.

Despite a myriad of advantages over others Russian Sputnik vaccine is yet to he approved by WHO

n addition to the low cost ,  benefits of the Russian vaccine are numerous

Like the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, Sputnik V does not require specialised storage but most important is the fact that one dies not require a second jab.

WHO’s  approval- Emergency Use Listing (EUL) is a prerequisite for COVAX Facility vaccine supply. It also allows countries to expedite their own regulatory approval to import and administer COVID-19 vaccines.