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Concern about Low Vaccination Coverage in Africa: 820 Million Doses Needed

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The number of new corona cases in Africa is starting to fall slightly. Every week, the number of confirmed infections fell by 15 percent, to a total of 239,000, reports John Nkengasong of the African Union health organization (Africa CDC).

 

At the same time, there are warnings about the rise of the delta variant and the low vaccination coverage.

Despite the slight decline in infection rates, it is still too early to speak of a tipping point, emphasizes Matshidiso Moeti, regional director of the World Health Organization (WHO). “The continent is still in the third wave of contamination, and we are certainly not out yet.” The current wave of infection is being driven by the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus. In western Africa, this is still leading to an increase in the number of infections.

The low vaccination rate is also a cause for concern. Currently, only 1.6 percent of the African population is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

So far, Africa has purchased 82 million doses of vaccine. “But if we plan two vaccinations, we will need 820 million doses of the vaccine if we are to reach the goal of a fully vaccinated population on the continent by the end of the year,” said WHO director Moeti.

In the meantime, Tanzania has started a national vaccination campaign as one of the last African countries. This means that only Eritrea and Burundi have not launched a campaign yet. But according to Nkengasong, the latter countries are also taking steps in that direction.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been a total of 6.5 million confirmed infections in Africa, according to the CDC, of which more than 167,000 have been fatal. But experts say the number of unreported cases on the continent is likely to be even higher.

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