Africa works to speed up, increase Covid vaccinations

Nairobi, Jan 4 (EFE).- Coronavirus infections rates have been on the rise in Africa, where countries are struggling to reach the goal of vaccinating 70 percent of the population by the end of the year.

Compared to Europe, North America or East Asia, Africa is lagging in its vaccination campaigns, with only a little over 10 percent of the population fully inoculated against Covid-19.

In a bid to boost vaccine rates, healthcare workers have had to get creative to speed up the rollouts and try to fight misinformation about the pandemic.

Mass immunization is the only way to bring the coronavirus pandemic under control, according to John Nkengasong, director of the African Union Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

In the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, nurses are now distributing jabs on some of the city’s busiest streets, under the shade of makeshift tents.

In northern Kenya, in an arid area bordering Ethiopia, local authorities are vaccinating numerous semi-nomadic herders, while also immunizing their camels against various diseases.

People in Liberia are being offered jabs in churches, mosques and markets; in Uganda, healthcare workers do the same at entrances to restaurants, sports stadiums and other popular gathering points.

Despite these efforts, Africa has many barriers to overcome to reach the goal of immunizing at least 70 percent of the population by the end of 2022 set by the African Union (AU).

Apart from public skepticism, Africa has been struggling with unequal distribution of vaccines, despite a recent increase in doses.

African countries, home to 16 percent of the global population, have accounted for only 3 percent of the coronavirus vaccines administered globally so far, according to the World Health Organization.

However, the WHO representative in Uganda, Yonas Tegegn, believes that Africa will be able to achieve its vaccination goal thanks to its experience in fighting other diseases, such as measles. EFE


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