‘Africa’s socio-economic recovery depends on large-scale vaccination’

The World Health Organization said only one in 25 people in Africa had so far received a coronavirus vaccine shot.

The Minister of Health and Social Action, Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr (C) gets vaccinated - as the first one in Senegal - during the official launch of the vaccination campaign against the COVID-19, in Dakar, on February 23, 2021. Picture: Seyllou / AFP.

CAPE TOWN - Africa needs seven times more coronavirus vaccines to reach inoculation targets set during this week's global COVID-19 Summit.

At the summit hosted by the United States government on the side lines of the UN General Assembly, it was agreed that all countries globally must have vaccinated at least 70% of their population by September next year.

The World Health Organization said only one in 25 people in Africa had so far received a coronavirus vaccine shot.

WHO epidemiologist, Doctor Impouma Benido, stressed the impact of further delaying COVID-19 immunisation for countries.

“The longer we delay in rolling out the vaccines, the greater the risk of additional challenges emerging, be they variants, hesitancy, operational gaps or other threats.”

CEO of international NGO, AMREF Health Africa, Doctor Githinji Gitahi, said socio-economic recovery for the continent depended on large-scale vaccination.

“Right now only about 3.6% of our people throughout the continent have actually had a chance of getting a dose of the vaccine. The continent carries about 17% of the global population, so this is holding back a significant part of the population.”

The World Health Organization's Doctor Richard Mihigo said around 180 million COVID-19 vaccine doses had so far arrived on the continent.

“We would like to see an increase in these numbers and we hope to see that the number of vaccines that are going to come via the AU-led initiative to increase quite quickly so that we can augment the capacity of countries to deploy the vaccine.”

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