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Four-fold leap in COVID-19 vaccinations in Africa – WHO

The number of COVID-19 shots administered in Africa during the past week increased by more than 400 percent compared to…

The number of COVID-19 shots administered in Africa during the past week increased by more than 400 percent compared to previous weeks amid an encouraging trend in the uptake of vaccines across the continent.World Health Organisation (WHO) regional director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti said on Friday that there has been a significant leap in the number of vaccinations across the continent mostly due to an increase in the availability of the drugs in most countries. 

“Last week, 13 million doses were administered in Africa up from a weekly average of three to four million in the previous weeks,” Moeti said.

She revealed that the WHO expected more than 470 million doses to be delivered to African countries by December this year via the COVAX facility, noting, however, that these would only be enough to vaccinate 17 percent of Africans. This would be far short of the target of 40 percent of the population required to reach herd immunity.

A mere 3.6 percent of Africa’s population has so far been vaccinated, she said, noting that this places the continent among the regions with the lowest inoculation rates in the world.

She attributed the slow vaccination rate to export bans and vaccine hoarding by wealth nations.

“As long as wealthy countries lock COVAX and the African Union out of the market, Africa will miss its vaccination goals,” the WHO official said, urging vaccine manufacturing countries “to open the gates and help protect those facing the greatest risk.”

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