The uptake of COVID-19 vaccines in Africa means that high-risk individuals are protected against severe infections and vaccine targets set by the World Health Organization will be reached, infectious disease specialists have said.
While Africa is still lagging behind the rest of the world on COVID-19 vaccine access and uptake, the WHO says immunisation rates are improving. The World Health Assembly in May last year set a COVID-19 vaccine goal for countries to vaccinate at least ten per cent of their populations by 30 September, 2021. Only 15 African countries met this target, including Seychelles and Mauritius which have reached a 60 per cent vaccination rate. Morocco achieved a 48 per cent vaccination rate while Cape Verde, Comoros and Tunisia vaccinated 20 per cent of their populations. Nine other African countries, including South Africa, Morocco and Tunisia, reached the ten per cent goal
However, by July this year there had been some improvement with COVID-19 vaccination coverage. Rates increased from less than four per cent in both Ethiopia and Zambia to 33 per cent and 25.2 per cent respectively. “What this increase in COVID-19 vaccination portends for Africa is that the needle in coverage for Africa will move towards the set targets and the hope is that individuals in the highest risk groups will be protected against any eventualities like new variants and waves,” Phionah Atuhebwe, medical officer for new vaccines at the WHO regional office for Africa, tells SciDev.net.
Atuhebwe says the regional office is giving technical assistance, partnering with ministries of health to deliver COVID-19 vaccines and organising funding programmes to sustain this progress and ensure vaccine delivery targets are met. Chika Offor, chief executive officer of Vaccine Network and Disease Control in Nigeria, says it is important to address in Africa to increase the uptake of the COVID-19 vaccines. “African leaders need to collaborate with non-governmental organisations, private sectors, partners and experts in their countries to put up an approach on how to engage citizens to increase [COVID-19] vaccination,” Offor said. She tells SciDev.Net that governments and ministries of health in the region must be transparent with information to stop misinformation from spreading
Source: This news is originally published by allafrica
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