Africa faces major challenges in securing access to COVID-19 vaccines: Africa CDC

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ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA - JANUARY 28: John Nkengasong, director of African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, holds a press conference on coronavirus in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on January 28, 2020. (Photo by Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Africa is facing significant challenges in gaining access to COVID-19 vaccines, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: John Nkengasong, director of African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, holds a press conference on coronavirus in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (Photo by Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Poor access to vaccines has hindered the continent from achieving its goal of vaccinating at least 60 percent of its population, the public health agency said in a statement.

About 23.6 million doses of vaccine have been distributed across Africa by Monday, which corresponds to a continental coverage of only 1.7 percent, showed the Africa CDC figures.

The agency called on African countries to facilitate rapid access to safe and effective vaccines for preventing severe cases and related deaths.

“This is strategic for the control of the epidemic and the rapid return of the growth and development of the continent,” the Africa CDC said.

As of Friday evening, COVID-19 cases have reached 4,076,147 in Africa, while the death toll from the pandemic stood at 108,998, it said.

Nine African countries have reported more than 100,000 cases, and South Africa, with 1,532,497 infections, remains the hardest hit.

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