COVID-19 vaccination in Africa has gained pace, WHO Africa Region has confirmed, weeks after the project kicked off.
African countries received their vaccine dosage late, with many also receiving minimal doses of the commodity.
However, WHO has said that the continent’s experience with mass vaccination campaigns and people’s determination to see the disease end has helped it gain ground.
Over 7 million vaccines administered
According to WHO’s statement on Thursday, nearly 7 million COVID-19 vaccines have already been administered across the continent. The vaccines became available through the COVAX facility. Some have also come from bilateral deals and donations, especially from India.
Africa now has 38 countries that have received the vaccines, with 30 already having started the vaccination drive. The 38 is a rise from just 22, which had received the vaccine last week, marking a significant improvement in the vaccine’s availability.
“Compared with countries in other regions which got access to the vaccine earlier, the initial rollout phase in some countries in Africa has reached a far higher number of people,” Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO African Region Director, said.
Ghana, Morocco lead
For example, Ghana, which received the COVAX AstraZeneca vaccine two weeks ago, has already given more than 420,000 doses. The country has also covered more than 60% of its targeted population in the Greater Accra region, which COVID-19 has the hardest hit.
Over the past seven weeks, Morocco has issued over 5.6 million vaccinations, the highest in the continent so far.
However, Dr. Moeti said that the countries needed to maintain the pace to bridge the gap between those vaccinated and those not vaccinated for maximum results.
Africa has passed 4 million COVID-19 cases, with deaths rising above 108,000. New cases over the past week have increased by 43,000. Cases have dropped by around 43 % over the past month. However, infections are still rising in some countries, among them Kenya, Guinea, Cameroon, and Ethiopia.