African nations making progress in vaccinating their populations

2021-10-06 16:44:35
African nations making progress in vaccinating their populations

Though the pace of COVID-19 vaccination in Africa is well behind the rest of the world due to persistent supply inequity, the region is making modest progress, with some countries reaching the goal of immunizing 10% of their population by the end of September, the World Health Organization (WHO) African regional office said Tuesday.

Of the 12 countries that hit the 10% goal, most have small populations, except for South Africa, the WHO said. Most had the resources to acquire vaccines or make bilateral deals beyond their COVAX deliveries.

Currently, 4.5% of the African population is fully vaccinated, well below the average 55% to 66% levels seen in the United States and Europe.

The WHO said African countries have received 201 million doses, which makes up 2.4% of the world's distribution. The African region has administered 71% of the doses it has received.

"Countries still need to double their efforts to reach the year-end target of fully vaccinating 40% of the population," the WHO said.

The region's COVID-19 cases continued a downward trend for the 11th week in a row, though some countries experienced increases over the past week, including Angola, Benin, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Mauritius, and Sao Tome and Principe. Deaths are also continuing to drop.

Covax’s distribution methodology is also under scrutiny, as it has some rich countries that already have many vaccine doses being eligible for doses at the same time as poorer countries that have no doses.

Other vaccine sources for African countries are bilateral agreements and the Africa CDC’s African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, which procures vaccines for all African Union member states.

Some African countries such as South Africa and Egypt are involved in the manufacturing process for Covid-19 vaccines.

Africa has so far received more than 200 million vaccine doses and administered about 71% of these, Mihigo said. The continent has recorded 8 million Covid-19 cases and 200,000 deaths from the disease.

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