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COVID-19: 82 million vaccine doses have reached Africa so far, another 820 million needed

The African continent is far behind on vaccinations as richer countries keep doses for their citizens.

Published: 29th July 2021 05:37 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th July 2021 05:37 PM   |  A+A-

Women share a light moment while attending a social gathering in a poor neighbourhood in Mbare, Harare

Women share a light moment while attending a social gathering in a poor neighbourhood in Mbare, Harare. (Photo| AP)

By Associated Press

NAIROBI: The World Health Organization’s Africa director says the continent of 1.3 billion people is entering an “encouraging phase after a bleak June” as supplies of COVID-19 vaccines increase.

But Matshidiso Moeti told reporters on Thursday that just 10% of the doses needed to vaccinate 30% of Africa’s population by the end of 2021 have arrived. Some 82 million doses have gotten to Africa so far, while some 820 million are needed.

And the year-end vaccination target is just half the 60% population coverage that African health officials seek to achieve so-called herd immunity. The African continent is far behind on vaccinations as richer countries keep doses for their citizens.

Less than 2% of Africa’s population has been fully vaccinated, and the more infectious delta variant is driving a deadly resurgence of cases. The WHO says nearly 4 million vaccine doses arrived in Africa last week from the global COVAX facility, compared to less than 250,000 in all of June.

“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel on vaccine deliveries to Africa but it must not be snuffed out again,” Moeti said. She warned that countries’ decisions to provide a third, “booster” dose could influence decisions on sending vaccines to Africa.

Africa Centers for Disease Control director John Nkengasong told reporters that African countries might need more doses than previously thought as the delta variant spreads and younger people get COVID-19.



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