WHO says 9 in 10 African countries to miss COVID-19 vaccination goal

In this illustration dated October 30, 2020, a woman is holding a small bottle that has a sticker labeled “Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine” and a medical syringe. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / File Photo

About 90% of African countries will miss a September target of vaccinating at least 10% of their population against COVID-19 as a third wave of the pandemic looms across the continent, a World Health Organization (WHO) official said Thursday.

Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, said the continent needed an additional 225 million doses to vaccinate a tenth of its population by September this year.

Africa has hit 5 million COVID-19 cases, with southern Africa being the hardest hit, accounting for 37% of total cases, according to a Reuters tally. South Africa is the hardest hit African country, with around 34% of all cases and around 43% of all deaths.

“As vaccine stocks and supplies run out, the continent’s first dose coverage rate remains at 2% and in sub-Saharan Africa at around 1%,” Moeti said at a weekly press conference.

“Vaccines have been shown to prevent cases and deaths, so countries that can do so urgently need to share COVID-19 vaccines.

Moeti said US President Joe Biden plans to buy and donate 500 million cans of the Pfizer (PFE.N) Coronavirus vaccine in more than 90 countries was an important step forward in making vaccines available on the continent. Continue reading

The director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control, John Nkengasong, said in a separate press conference that 14 African countries are “aggressively” heading for a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

“You can clearly see that the variant identified in India is making its way onto the continent. We continue to analyze the situation and see if there is a connection between the variant and the third wave, ”said Nkengasong.

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