African leaders and health experts have called for equitable and fair access to any approved vaccine against the coronavirus.  As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Africa has surpassed 300,000, governments across the continent are organizing themselves to manufacture any vaccine quickly.

Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday that a huge investment was needed for any approved COVID-19 vaccine to be quickly made available throughout Africa.

“Only one virus in history has been eradicated.  It’s likely that COVID-19 will be with us for the foreseeable future and we must learn to live with it.  A vaccine is an essential tool for doing that,” Tedros said.

He was speaking at a conference in Addis Ababa organized by the African Union and the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Africa is seeing increasing numbers of confirmed infections, as testing on Tuesday became available in every country on the continent.

The WHO on Wednesday said Africa had over 321,000 confirmed infections.

African leaders and health experts attending the conference said the continent’s most vulnerable and health workers would need a vaccine soonest.

Director of the Africa CDC Dr. John Nkengasong said countries should be preparing.

“As a continent, we should be positioning ourselves to conduct clinical trials in a network fashion.  We should also enable regulatory processes that would facilitate uptake of vaccines. …We also need to secure deals through bilateral governments,” Nkengasong said.