Only four countries in Africa are on track to complete 70% vaccination target set by the World Health Organisation, data released by the data aggregating site Our World in Data shows.
The countries are Rwanda, Congo, Tunisia and Mauritania.
Congo has administered 22 vaccine doses per 100 people as of December 15, 2021, the available data shows.
While Rwanda had administered 98.92 vaccine doses per 100 population as of December 30, 2021, the figures for Tunisia and Mauritania was 101.53 and 40.57 respectively.
“Sad that some people are talking about giving people in the UK the fourth dose of COVID19 vaccine when most people in Africa have not even had one dose,” says Labour Party MP, Diane Abbott.
The vaccination issue is not just that of supply and availability, say experts. Issues like storage, transportation, maintenance of cold chain, syringes and safety boxes also play an important role in the administration of the vaccines.
According to the World Health Organisation, some of the ‘Low Income’ (LIC) and ‘Low and Middle Income’ (LMIC) countries are facing serious challenges in vaccine deployment.
“Constraints related to storage, cold chain capacity, and trained vaccinators are exacerbated in some cases by doses arriving with short shelf lives and without the adequate lead time and shortages in ancillary supplies (such as syringes, safety boxes, and dilutants), with challenges to plan and finance vaccination campaigns in a timely manner,” WHO says.
The WHO has been urging the governments that have already achieved high coverage to fulfil their donation pledges as quickly as possible to accelerate near-term deliveries to COVAX and allow the vaccine manufacturers to prioritise supply to COVAX, AVAT, and low-coverage countries by releasing them from the contract related supply commitment.
“No country can boost its way out of this Pandemic,” says the Director-General of the WHO Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus highlighting the need for urgently vaccinating the unvaccinated around the world.
“It’s frankly difficult to understand how a year since the first vaccines were administered, 3 in 4 health workers in Africa remain unvaccinated,” Dr Tedros added while speaking to media recently.
The recent PERC-Africa report finds that 78% of people in African Union member states are willing to get vaccinated, the officials at the Centre for Disease Control in Africa say.
“Our report finds vaccine hesitancy is not a top challenge on the African continent. More than three in four PERC survey respondents indicated that they had been vaccinated or were likely to get vaccinated against COVID19. In Guinea, Morocco, Mozambique, Tunisia and Zimbabwe, this figure was 90% or higher,” authors of the report noted.
The report noted that unpredictable supply and other logistical hurdles, such as gaps in resources to support vaccine delivery and development, continue to pose challenges in meeting a 70% coverage goal.