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Africa set to miss COVID vaccination target as cases surge upwards

The World Health Organization, Africa region has said that the continent won’t meet its vaccine objectives by September 2021.

Speaking during the weekly address on the COVID situation in the continent, WHO Africa Regional Director, Dr. Moeti Tshidi, said that the most vulnerable people in the continent’s population remained exposed to the virus.

90% of countries set to miss target

Reports say that 47 of Africa’s 54 states will miss the September target of having vaccinated at least 10 % of its population unless the continent gets 225 million more doses to cover the shortages. Only seven countries will meet the target, which is about 10 % of the countries on the continent.

“Vaccines have proven to prevent severe COVID cases and deaths. So countries that can must urgently share COVID-19 vaccines. It’s do or die on sharing doses for Africa,” Dr. Moeti said.

Dr. Moeti said that Africa had administered 32 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines. This figure represents just 2 % of the continent’s 1.3 billion population and just 1 % of the world’s COVID vaccine doses given (over 2.1 billion).

Tides changing

However, the tide was beginning to change, she said, with wealthier nations promising vaccine donations. However, she called on African countries to ramp up vaccine distribution of the vaccines they already have.

“…While more vaccines are vital, some African countries must ramp up actions to roll out the vaccines they have swiftly.”

Dr. Moeti was speaking during a virtual conference on Thursday, where she also revealed that COVID-19 cases in the continent had risen further by 20 %. There were 88,000 new COVID cases in the week ending June 6th.

Spike in COVID cases

Ten African countries were reporting an upward trend in new infections, with four nations seeing a spike of over 30 % in the past week. In the continent, five countries reported 72 % of new infections. These countries were Egypt, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zambia.

Uganda recently moved into a lockdown after reporting the highest number of cases ever since the pandemic broke out. Already, hospitals in the country are struggling to cope with the rising number of infections.

Meanwhile, cases in the continent are closing in on the 5 million mark.

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