Africa needs 200m covid-19 vaccine doses to vaccinate 10% of population by Sept —WHO | Ripples Nigeria
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Africa needs 200m covid-19 vaccine doses to vaccinate 10% of population by Sept —WHO

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said Africa needs additional 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to vaccinate 10 per cent of its population by September this year, as any pause in vaccination programmes in the region will lead to loss of lives.

The body called on countries with more COVID-19 vaccines to urgently share some doses with low-income countries, especially in Africa, where vaccination efforts are cut short due to global vaccine shortages.

Specifically, WHO’s Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, said this at the weekend, during a press briefing on COVID-19 in Africa.

According to her, dose-sharing is an urgent, critical, and short-term solution to ensuring that Africans, who are at the greatest risk of COVID-19 get the much-needed protection, as supplies dry up,

Moeti said: “Africa needs vaccines now. Any pause in our vaccination campaigns will lead to loss of lives and loss of hope. As WHO, we are appealing to countries that have already vaccinated their high-risk groups, to significantly expand and bring forward their pledges to share doses.

Read also: More than half of UK has taken first jab of COVID-19 vaccine

“Another 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses are needed so that the continent can vaccinate 10 per cent of its population by September this year as called for by the Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, at the 74th World Health Assembly.

“At a minimum, Africa needs at least 20 million AstraZeneca vaccines by mid-July to deliver second doses to everyone who received their first shots.”

She noted that almost six months after the first COVID-19 vaccination campaigns started globally, less than two doses per 100 people have been administered in sub-Saharan Africa.

“For the past three weeks, cases had declined, but this week we have seen an increase of 17 percent, with 65,000 new cases reported.

“Population fatigue in adhering to preventive measures, the circulation of variants, and cooler weather driving people indoors, could be contributing to these increases. While it’s too soon to say if Africa is seeing a resurgence, we are monitoring the situation closely. We are balancing on a knife’s edge,” she added.

By Victor Uzoho…

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