According to the World Health Organisation, the number of COVID cases in Africa increased significantly last week, but the number of deaths is lower than in the previous wave.
However, an increase of 83% means that 70% of those deemed essential to contain the pandemic will not be fully vaccinated until August 2024.
Dr. Machidiso Moeti, WHO Director for Africa said:
“But the slow deployment of vaccines in Africa means there has to be a lot more than the two.”
If vaccination rates are low, Breeding Ground for Africa was the latest update from the WHO for new variants such as the rapidly spreading Omicron strain first identified in South Africa, he said.
And the boom was especially noticeable in South Africa. South Africa reported a 66% increase in the number of cases in the past week compared to the previous 7 days. But so far deaths and serious cases have been few.
“We have known for a long time that new variants such as Beta, Delta and Omicron can emerge regularly and cause new outbreaks around the world, but vaccines are lacking in Africa and elsewhere. This region is particularly vulnerable. It is,” said Moeti.
According to a statement by WHO-Africa, it is estimated that at current rates, 40% of vaccination will be achieved in Africa by May 2022 and will reach 70% in August 2024.
“But even if we accelerate the pace of vaccination as early as 2022, we can still save many lives,” Moeti said.
As of 13 December, only 20 African countries had vaccinated at least 10% of their populations. This is a global target set by WHO in September 2021.
Only six countries have achieved the goal of fully immunizing 40% of the population, but only two, Mauritius and Seychelles, have reached 70%.
The recent surge across the continent was primarily driven by the Delta and Omicron variants.
Over 2,700 cases of Omicron have been reported worldwide in 59 countries, including 11 in Africa.
WHO: Africa may not be able to meet its 70% vaccination target by the end of 2024
© 2021 AFP
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