LACK OF VACCINES BLAMED

Nearly all African countries to miss Covid vaccination target

Kenya has vaccinated two per cent of the population with the first dose since March

In Summary

•The target was announced recently at the World Health Assembly, the world’s highest health policy-setting body.

• WHO said only seven African countries are set to meet the target by September.

Vicky Maiyu, a health official from Dagoretti subcounty receives Covid-19 jab at Mutuini Hospital on March 9, 2021.
Vicky Maiyu, a health official from Dagoretti subcounty receives Covid-19 jab at Mutuini Hospital on March 9, 2021.
Image: ANDREW KASUKU

 Kenya is among 47 African countries set to miss the September target of fully vaccinating 10 per cent of their people against Covid-19, the World Health Organization says.

The country has vaccinated two per cent of the population with the first dose.

WHO blames the slow pace on lack of vaccines. It said Africa needs 225 million more doses to reach the 10 per cent target.

The new targets was announced recently at the World Health Assembly, the world’s highest health policy-setting body.

WHO said only seven African countries are set to meet the target by September.

By Thursday, Kenya had vaccinated 982,310 people with the first dose but targets five million by September.

The pandemic is trending upwards in 10 African countries, with four nations recording a spike in new cases of over 30 per cent in the past seven days, compared to the previous week.

In the last one week, 72 per cent of all new cases were reported in Egypt, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia and over half were recorded in nine southern African countries.

“As we close in on five million cases and a third wave in Africa looms, many of our most vulnerable people remain dangerously exposed to Covid-19. Vaccines have been proven to prevent cases and deaths, so countries that can, must urgently share Covid-19 vaccines. It's do or die on dose sharing for Africa,” Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional director for Africa, said.

At 32 million doses already given, Africa accounts for under one per cent of the over 2.1 billion doses administered globally. Just two per cent of the continent’s nearly 1.3 billion people have received one dose and only 9.4 million Africans are fully vaccinated.

However, US President Joe Biden’s announcement that the US will purchase and donate 500 million Pfizer vaccines to 92 low- and lower-middle-income countries and the African Union is an important step forward.

This comes as we see other countries such as France also making tangible deliveries via Covax.

“The tide is starting to turn. We are now seeing wealthy nations beginning to turn promises into action,” Moeti said.

Fourteen African countries, including Kenya, have used from 80 per cent to 100 per cent of the doses they received through the Covax Facility, 20 countries have used less than 50 per cent of the doses received.

 Twelve countries have more than 10 per cent of their AstraZeneca doses at risk of expiring by the end of August.