CORONAVIRUS: Slow vaccination rate – 2021 – Africa Research Bulletin: Economic, Financial and Technical Series

A Third wave sweeps across Africa as vaccine imports dry up.

More than a year after the start of the pandemic, most African countries have vaccinated only a tiny fraction of their populations. Health experts warn that failure to immunize the continent’s 1.3 billion people will have a huge impact on its health systems and economies. “Our priority is clear – it is crucial that we quickly get vaccines into the arms of Africans at high risk of becoming seriously ill and dying from Covid-19,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, of the World health (WHO) Regional Director for Africa.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, has only fully immunized 0.1% of its citizens. The African Center for Disease Control says three countries – Tanzania, Burundi, Eritrea – and the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Republic (RASD) have not yet received any vaccine, while Burkina Faso has received 115,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine but has not yet administered a single vaccine.

Abdhalah Ziraba, epidemiologist and head of the health system at the African Center for Population and Health Research in Nairobi, explains that vaccination failure is partly due to the reluctance of the population to vaccinate and to underdevelopment health systems, especially in non-urban areas. .

Rwanda and To go each received approximately 100,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine. In Zimbabwe, hundreds of people are turned away from vaccination centers because the country’s supply of ChinaThe Sinovac vaccine appears to be exhausted. Infections are also on the rise Angola, Namibia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where 32 deputies and several collaborators of the president, Félix Tshisekedi, are among the deceased. There was an upsurge in infection in Seychelles although it is the most vaccinated country in Africa, perhaps due to new variants and the relatively low efficacy of the Sinopharm vaccine. Kenya fully vaccinated only 13,000 people out of a population of 50 million, although about 1 million people received a dose of the vaccine.

Davji Atellah, the secretary general of the Union of Physicians, Pharmacists and Dentists of Kenya, calls on the government to allocate 1% of the country’s budget to the purchase of vaccines against Covid-19. The western region of Kenya has seen high rates of coronavirus infections in recent weeks, and officials have warned they may have to impose a new lockdown to curb transmissions.

In the neighbor Uganda, the government recently reintroduced strict containment to combat an increase in infections. The lockdown includes the closure of schools and religious activities, and the imposition of travel bans within the country.

Ziraba said failure of African countries to vaccinate their populations would disrupt daily life and pose a problem for the rest of the world. “It will be a stunt that will be very disruptive for the economies and the health system of African countries.”

Studies have shown that millions of people in Africa will be pushed into poverty and many more forced to forgo hard-earned gains in income and quality of life as the effects of the pandemic continue to spread across the continent. . Although analysts predict a steady economic recovery on the continent in 2021, the epidemic has reversed years of growth.

As of June 11, confirmed cases of Covid-19 in 55 African countries reached 4,983,779 while more than 28,179,798 vaccines have been administered across the continent. Deaths reported in Africa have reached 133,678 and 4,484,147 people have recovered. South Africa has the most reported cases – 1,722,086 – and 57,410 people have died. The other most affected countries are Morocco (522 765), Tunisia (362 658), Ethiopia (273 678), Egypt (271 047), Libya (188,386) and Kenya (174,285). (VOA 11/6; The Guardian 7/6) New wave alert p.23397A and see p. 23429A

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