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

SENFTENBERG, GERMANY - MARCH 03: A nurse holds a vile of the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 during the inoculation of patients at a private medical practice as part of a pilot project in the state of Brandenburg during the coronavirus pandemic on March 03, 2021 in Senftenberg, Germany. Several German states are allowing vaccinations against COVID-19 to begin in a limited number of private medical practices with the aim of expanding venues that offer the vaccines beyond the current mass vaccination centers. While Germany's vaccination rollout has been hampered by less than anticipated shipments of vaccine, the volume of shipments has begun increasing, leading to higher weekly numbers of vaccinations. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Multiple countries in Europe have suspended the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine. /Joel Saget/AFP

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

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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