It will take Africa much longer to control COVID-19 on the continent than we previously thought because of the very limited rates of vaccination that we have, Dr John Nkengasong, the Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), has stated.
“We have only successfully vaccinated 5.5 per cent out of the 1.2 billion people on the African continent and that is not good a position of controlling and eliminating the virus,” he said.
“We are getting to a point where elimination or effective control of the virus is becoming more challenging because of the slow pace at which vaccination is occurring in Africa,” Dr Nkengasong said.
He said: “It’s everybody’s responsibility to make sure that everyone is vaccinated against COVID-19. The community, the media together and the public health experts have a role to play.
“We have been very loud and clear about the danger and the risk for the continent not getting appropriate access to vaccines, but we need to accelerate our efforts and at least try to vaccinate 70 per cent of the African population by the end of next year so that we have a chance of controlling this pandemic.”
Dr Nkengasong said at a weekly media briefing monitored by the Ghana News Agency in Dar es Salaam Tanzania that to date, the highly contagious variants of the coronavirus continue to spread across the continent.
“As of October 28, 2021, a total of 8.4 million people had been infected with the virus in Africa. Of that, over 218,000 people had lost their lives, accounting for 4.4 per cent of the cases reported globally.
“The continent is still going through a severe third wave. 82 per cent of our member states are currently going through the third wave. Seven countries; Algeria, Benin, Egypt, Kenya, Mauritius, Somalia, and Tunisia, are currently experiencing the fourth wave,” Dr Nkengasong.
He said the Africa CDC is, however, encouraged by the recent downward trend in the number of coronavirus COVID-19 cases registered across the region.
“Between the period of October 18-24, a total of 31,000 new cases were reported across the continent and this represents a 26 per cent decrease in the number of new cases reported compared to the previous week.
“In terms of deaths recorded over the last week, 1,322 deaths have been reported across the region compared to the previous week where we reported 1,515 deaths.
“Over the four weeks between September 27 and October 24 we have observed a 20 per cent average decrease in new cases, and except for Central Africa where we have observed a 7 per cent average increase.
“We are pleased to see that there’s a consistent decrease in other regions including 25 per cent decrease in Southern Africa, 22 per cent decrease in East Africa, 20 per cent in West Africa, and 15 per cent in North Africa,” said Dr Nkengasong.
He said: “As of October 28th, 2021, a total of 275 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been procured on the continent. Of that number, 188.5 million have been administered, which corresponds to 70 per cent of the total supply available.
“A total of 5.58 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated and we continue to make little progress. We are very delighted to see some countries distinguishing themselves in the fight against.”
The Africa CDC is a specialized technical institution of the African Union that strengthens the capacity and capability of Africa’s public health institutions as well as partnerships to detect and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats and outbreaks, based on data-driven interventions and programmes.
He said the questions about COVID-19 becoming ‘endemic’ were rising among health experts and the population across the region.
For much of the past two years of the pandemic, the AU through the Africa CDC, and the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) have been at the forefront and have led the fight against coronavirus by helping member states acquire and distribute vaccines.
Source: GNARead Full Story