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9 in 10 African nations set to miss urgent COVID-19 vaccination goal

9 in 10 African nations set to miss urgent COVID-19 vaccination goal
9 in 10 African nations set to miss urgent COVID-19 vaccination goal
Written by Harry Johnson

Africa’s 54 countries have registered nearly five million COVID-19 infections to date and numbers increased by nearly 20 percent – to more than 88 000 – in the week ending 6 June.

  • It’s do or die on dose sharing for Africa
  • 225 million doses of vaccine are needed urgently on the continent
  • Just two percent of Africa’s nearly 1.3 billion people have received one dose

At 32 million doses, Africa accounts for less than one per cent of the more than 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.

‘Do or die’ for doses

“It’s do or die on dose sharing for Africa,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa.

The WHO’s reminder that 225 million doses of vaccine are needed urgently on the continent comes as coronavirus infections increased there for the third consecutive week.

Africa’s 54 countries have registered nearly five million COVID-19 infections to date and numbers increased by nearly 20 percent – to more than 88 000 – in the week ending 6 June.

Third wave looms

“As we close in on five million cases and a third wave in Africa looms, many of our most vulnerable people remain dangerously exposed to COVID-19”, warned Dr Moeti.

“Vaccines have been proven to prevent cases and deaths, so countries that can, must urgently share COVID-19 vaccines.”

According to WHO’s latest situation update, the pandemic “is trending upwards in 10 African countries”. Four nations have seen a 30 per cent increase in cases in the past seven days, compared with the previous week.

Most of the new cases were in Egypt, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia and over half were in nine southern African countries.

Vaccines have become “increasingly scarce”, the UN health agency said, adding that at the current rate of delivery, only seven African nations will meet the goal of immunizing one in 10 people by September.