African Countries Lagging Behind in COVID-19 Vaccination-WHO

According to WHO, Africa needs 225 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to reach the target.
Acting Kitgum General Hospital Medical Superintendant Dr Geoffery Okello reacts during covid-19 vaccination at the health facility on Wednesday.
African countries will not be able to meet the global COVID-19 vaccination target according to the World Health Organization.

All countries are supposed to vaccinate 10 percent of their population by September 2021.

However, the UN health agency says this will not be possible for 47 African countries Uganda inclusive. According to data from the health ministry, only 1.7 percent of the Ugandan population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to WHO, Africa needs 225 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to reach the target.

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Africa Director says the vaccines are needed more than ever given the rising number of COVID-19 cases recorded on the continent.

She says countries that have excess doses need to step in and donate whatever excesses they might have.

“As we close in on 5 million cases and the third wave in Africa looms, many of our most vulnerable people remain dangerously exposed to COVID-19. Vaccines have been proven to prevent cases and deaths, so countries that can, must urgently share COVID-19 vaccines. It's do or die on dose sharing for Africa," she said.

According to Dr Moeti, only 32 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Africa. This represents less than 1 percent of the over 2.1 billion doses administered globally.

Just 2 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 vital, some African countries must ramp up actions to swiftly roll out the vaccines they have. While 14 African countries have used from 80% to 100% of the doses they received through the COVAX Facility, 20 countries have used less than 50% of the doses received. Twelve countries have more than 10% 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 in their rollout need to step up vaccination efforts,” she said.

Low uptake of vaccines in some countries is attributed to vaccine hesitancy. According to WHO, confidence in vaccines in Africa ranges from just 38% in Cameroon to 86% in Guinea. On average, West and Central Africa have the lowest vaccine confidence at around 60%.

To combat mis-and-disinformation around vaccines, WHO and partners set up the Africa Infodemic Response Alliance (AIRA), which leverages the reach and insights from a unique network of 14 organizations and pools resources to combat misinformation.

Viral Facts Africa, the public face of the alliance, has created over 150 videos and social media posts to counter misinformation this year and they have been disseminated on almost 60 social media channels across the region and gained more than 100 million views.