A lack of cold storage is limiting COVID vaccine options for Senegal. Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require storage at minus 20 degrees celsius (-4 f), and BioNTech vaccine requires being kept at -70 degrees celsius. So, authorities say those are not their first choice. Senegal could store the Moderna vaccine for 30 days and the Pfizer for seven days before they spoil.
The head of the country’s vaccination programme, Ousseynou Badiane, said on Monday Senegal would prefer to receive vials that can be kept for longer under ordinary refrigeration because of the nation’s inability to store COVID-19 vaccines at ultra-low temperatures. Senegal is looking at vaccine options developed by China or Russia.
The situation in Senegal highlights the problems some countries with hot climates face in storing and distributing vaccines, often in rural areas with unreliable power supplies.
A lack of cold storage means Senegal would only be able to keep vaccines developed by Astrazeneca and Oxford University. Ousseynou Badiane said Senegalese government will opt for vaccines developed by chiNa or Russia in the long term, as they do not require a deep freeze.
The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines “are not our first choice. Our first choice is the vaccine that fits easily into the system that exists, that doesn’t require major investment,” Badiane told Reuters.
“if the vaccines are not used (in the right time frame) that would be an enormous waste.” Badiane said …“if the option now is to take the (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccines we… Would have to redo all our logistics.
Millions have already received inoculations in western countries and china, while Senegal is awaiting vaccines through the world health organization-backed global COVAX scheme. This programme is helping to finance deliveries to 92 developing nations with limited or no means to buy vaccines on their own.
Senegal is no stranger to vaccination campaigns.
In four walk-in cold rooms in the capital Dakar, authorities keep thousands of vials of yellow fever and hepatitis b vaccines at between 2 and 8 degrees celsius. It has one room that keeps oral polio vaccines up to minus 25 degrees celsius.
At the Fann hospital in Dakar, technicians are installing seven new such rooms. But for now the lack of deep refrigeration limits the country’s options.
Emirates Airlines Temporarily Suspends Flights To South Africa
Emirates Airlines says it will suspend all flights to and from south Africa from this weekend till January the 28th for operational reasons.
The Dubai-based airline says customers holding tickets with final destinations in South Africa during that period will not be accepted for travel at their point of origin. It did not elaborate further.
Emirates is popular to and from the country. South Africa has seen a surge in cases since a new variant was identified in the country in November.
Emirates is popular with travellers to and from South Africa, but there has been a sharp drop in travel because of the coronavirus outbreak.
‘Unique’ COVID-19 Variant Detected In Kenya
Kenya says it has detected a unique coronavirus variant in the south-east of the country, following a study by state-linked Kenya Medical Research Institute between June and October.
Scientists at the institute say more research needs to be done to assess the impact of the variant.
Kenya has so far confirmed nearly 100,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 1,700 deaths.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization says the faster-spreading South African variant has been detected in three African states – Botswana, Zambia and the Gambia in west Africa.
WHO says Africa has now surpassed three million COVID-19 cases, and daily case numbers were exceeding the first wave peak.
WHO an average of 25,223 cases were reported each day between 28 December 2020 and 10 January 2021 in Africa, which is nearly 39% higher than the July 2020 two-week peak of 18,104 daily average cases.
“Revamped public health measures are ever more critical to avert a runaway surge in infections that could stretch health facilities to the breaking point,” it added.
Dozens Killed In Suspected Rebel Attack In Eastern DR Congo
A senior provincial official in the Democratic Republic of Congo has on Thursday said at least 46 civilians are reported to have been killed in an attack by suspected rebel fighters on a village in the eastern part of the country.
Adjio Gidi, a provincial Interior Minister said as of this afternoon 46 persons are reported to have died and local security forces have been dispatched to the village in Irumu territory to investigate.
He added that the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) were behind the raid.
According to UN figures The Ugandan armed group is believed to have carried out a string of massacres in the eastern DRC, killing more than 1,000 civilians since the start of 2019.
Local army spokesman Jules Ngongo said after being alerted to the latest violence, troops went to the village and are in the process of recovering bodies. He did not say how many had been killed.
Some few days ago, unidentified attackers killed at least six rangers in an ambush in eastern DRC’s Virunga National Park, a sanctuary for endangered mountain gorillas.
DRC’s eastern borderlands with Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi are home to a constellation of more than 100 different rebel groups, many remnants of its brutal civil wars that officially ended in 2003.