Africa has tripled vaccines but the process is still too slow

África triplicou vacinas mas processo ainda é demasiado lento

Africa has tripled the number of covid-19 vaccines administered in the past week, although protecting up to 10% of the continent by the end of September remains "a very daunting task," the director of the regional World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday.

Meanwhile, the continent has seen 248,000 new confirmed cases in the last week, with at least 28 countries seeing an outbreak of infections driven by the Delta variant.

"This is a preventable tragedy if African countries get fair access to vaccines," Matshidiso Moeti told reporters.

The WHO director for Africa said 13 million vaccines were administered last week, three times the number of doses administered the week before, as donations from developed countries increased. But that remains a drop in an ocean on a continent of 1.3 billion people, where, according to the African Union Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), only 2.4% are currently vaccinated.

Africa will receive 117 million doses in the coming months, but 34 million more will be needed to reach the 10% vaccination target, Moeti added.

In addition, the official urged African countries to increase their capacity to use vaccines when they arrive. "No precious dose should be wasted," she warned.

The brutal resurgence of the disease in Africa, driven by the Delta variant, is further straining already stretched health systems across the continent. While African countries struggle, the United States and other high-income countries are talking about booster vaccines.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recently called it "unconscionable" that some countries are offering booster injections "while so many people remain unprotected."

"I think it's very difficult for us to talk about booster doses in Africa," Moeti said.

"We have not yet covered even 5% of the population with the initial vaccines needed to slow the spread of the virus and, more importantly, stop what we think is a fourth wave coming," he commented.

Lusa Agency

Share this article