Ninety percent of African countries are set to miss the September target of vaccinating 10% of their people unless Africa receives 225 million more doses, World Health Organization said on Thursday.
At a media briefing, Matshidiso Moeti, regional director of the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa, said without a significant boost in the availability of vaccines, only seven African countries will achieve the goal.
At 32 million doses, Africa accounts for under 1% of the over 2.1 billion COVID-19 doses administered globally.
Just 2% of the continent’s nearly 1.3 billion people have received one dose and only 9.4 million Africans are fully vaccinated, according to WHO figures.
“As we close in on 5 million cases and the 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,” Moeti said.
She praised the US plan to purchase and donate half a billion Pfizer vaccines to 92 low and lower-middle-income countries.
The UN official said the Mastercard Foundation’s announcement of $1.3 billion to support vaccinations and human capital development in collaboration with the African Union and the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is another positive development.
“These are the kinds of partnerships needed to bring an end to the pandemic.”
“We need to ensure that the vaccines that we have are not wasted because every dose is precious,” said Moeti, adding: “Countries that are lagging behind in their rollout need to step up vaccination efforts.”
There are over 4.9 million confirmed COVID-19 cases on the African continent, with more than 4.4 million recoveries and 132,000 deaths, according to the WHO.