The World Health Organisation (WHO) says 47 of Africa’s 54 countries – nearly 90 percent are set to miss the September target of vaccinating 10 percent of their population unless Africa receives 225 million more doses.
The new global targets were announced recently at the World Health Assembly, the world’s highest health policy-setting body, and at the present pace of vaccination, only seven African countries are set to meet them.
WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, disclosed this at a press briefing on Thursday lamenting that the pandemic is trending upward on the continent.
According to Moeti, the number of COVID-19 cases in Africa is approaching five million per week.
“As we approach five million cases and Africa’s third wave approaches, many of our most vulnerable people remain dangerously exposed to COVID-19,” she said.
“Vaccines have been proven to prevent cases and deaths, so countries that can, must urgently share COVID-19 vaccines. It’s a do-or-die-on-dose sharing for Africa.
“At 32 million doses, Africa accounts for under one percent of the over 2.1 billion doses administered globally. Just two percent of the continent’s nearly 1.3 billion people have received one dose and only 9.4 million Africans are fully vaccinated.”
While more vaccines are necessary, she believes that some African countries should step up their efforts to quickly roll out the vaccines they already have.
While 14 African countries have used from 80 percent to 100 percent of the doses they received through the COVAX facility, 20 countries have used less than 50 percent of the doses received. 12 countries have more than 10 percent of their AstraZeneca doses at risk of expiring by the end of August.
We need to ensure that the vaccines that we have are not wasted because every dose is precious. Countries that are lagging behind in their rollout need to step up vaccination efforts”, Moeti said.