Nine in ten African countries set to miss urgent COVID vaccination target

With 32 million doses, Africa accounts for less than one percent of the more than 2.1 billion doses administered worldwide. Only two percent of the continent’s nearly 1.3 billion people have received a dose, and only 9.4 million Africans are fully immunized.

“Do or die” for the doses

“It’s do or die on dose sharing for Africa,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

WHO’s reminder that 225 million doses of vaccine are urgently needed on the continent comes as coronavirus infections there increased for the third consecutive week.

The 54 countries of Africa have registered nearly five million COVID-19[female[feminine infections so far and the number have increased by nearly 20 percent – to more than 88,000 – during the week ending June 6.

The third wave is looming

“As we approach five million cases and a third wave looms in Africa, many of our most vulnerable people remain dangerously exposed to COVID-19,” warned Dr Moeti.

“Vaccines have been proven to prevent cases and deaths, so countries that can urgently need to share COVID-19 vaccines. ”

According to the latest WHO situation update, the pandemic “tends to increase in 10 African countries”. Four countries recorded a 30% increase in cases in the past seven days, compared to the previous week.

Most of the new cases were in Egypt, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia, and more than half were in nine countries in southern Africa.

Vaccines have become “increasingly scarce,” the United Nations health agency said, adding that at the current rate of delivery, only seven African countries will meet the goal of vaccinating one in 10 people by September. .

European contrast

Development came like the WHO ad Thursday that for the first time in Europe since last August, deaths from COVID-19 had fallen below 10,000 in a week.

In a regular update, the United Nations health agency noted that cases, hospitalizations and deaths have declined in the region for two consecutive months.

A total of 368,000 new cases have been reported in the past seven days, a fifth of the weekly cases reported during the recent European peak in April of this year, said Dr Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for the ‘Europe.

He noted that the European Region had seen 55 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1.2 million deaths, which is about a third of the global caseload.

Vaccine deployment

More than 400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the past six months, noted Dr Kluge, which means 30% of Europeans have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 17% have been fully immunized .

“Vaccination coverage is far from sufficient to protect the (European) region from a resurgence,” said the WHO official. “The distance to travel before reaching at least 80% adult population coverage is still considerable.”

Public health measures and vaccination … is the way out of this pandemic – Dr. Kluge

People over 70 were 800 times more likely to contract serious illness or die from coronavirus, he continued, insisting it was an “urgent priority” to continue to protect people the elderly, people with co-morbidities and frontline workers who “remain unprotected” in a number of European countries.

“With the increase in social gatherings, greater mobility of the population and the major sports festivals and tournaments taking place in the days and weeks to come, WHO-Europe calls for caution,” the official added. of the WHO.

Widespread community transmission continues, Dr Kluge continued, adding that the new variant of the Delta coronavirus which shows increased transmissibility “is about to take hold,” while many vulnerable people over the age of 60 remain unsettled. protected.

Highlighting parallels with last summer when infections rose among young people before moving on to older groups, the WHO official urged European countries to avoid “a devastating resurgence, lockdowns and loss of life During the warmer months.

Public health measures

“A combination of public health and vaccination measures – neither – is the way out of this pandemic,” Dr Kluge insisted.

To encourage people to protect themselves and others from the coronavirus, WHO-Europe and Unicef Europe and Central Asia have launched a joint campaign with dos and don’ts.

“If you choose to travel, do it responsibly,” said Dr Kluge. “Be aware of the risks. Use common sense and don’t put hard-earned wins at risk. Remember: wash your hands frequently, keep a distance, choose open settings, and wear a mask. Avoid the three C’s; “closed”, “confined” or “overcrowded” settings will put you at higher risk. “

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