Nearly 80% of African countries will miss looming vaccine target

Most African Nations to Miss Month-End Virus Vaccination Target

By Katarina Hoije

(Bloomberg) – Almost 80% of African countries will fail to meet a target set by the world’s highest health policy-setting body to fully vaccinate 10% of their most vulnerable populations against the coronavirus by the end of the month.

Data from the World Health Organisation shows that at the current inoculations and vaccine delivery rate, 42 out of 54 African nations will miss the goal set by the World Health Assembly in May, WHO Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti said during a weekly virtual briefing on Thursday.

“As long as vaccination rates are low, the risks of severe illness and deaths remain high,” said Moeti. “Only 39 million people, less than 3% of Africa’s population are fully vaccinated compared to more than 50% in Europe and the U.S.” 

The low vaccination rates not only threaten Africa’s ability to curb the virus but the rest of the world’s as new Covid-19 variants develop. 

To date nine nations, including Seychelles, Morocco and South Africa, have exceeded the 10% target. Senegal, Namibia and Botswana are among the handful of other countries that could still reach the target if they speed up vaccinations. 

“Vaccine hoarding has held Africa back and we urgently need more vaccines,” said Moeti. “But as more doses arrive, African countries must zero in and drive forward precise plans to rapidly vaccinate the millions of people that still face a grave threat from Covid-19.” 

While Africa’s third wave peaked in July, a decline in new cases is slower than after previous waves. More than 214,000 new cases were reported in the past week, with 25 out of 54 countries still reporting high or fast-rising case numbers, said Moeti.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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