WHO Africa says introduction of booster shots are ‘mockery’ of vaccine equity

Johannesburg, Aug 19 (EFE).- The introduction of Covid-19 vaccine booster shots threaten the progress of rollouts across Africa and make a “mockery” of vaccination equity, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

“Moves by some countries globally to introduce booster shots threaten the promise of a brighter tomorrow for Africa. As some richer countries hoard vaccines, they make a mockery of vaccine equity,” WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, said.

Only six out of 100,000 people in Africa have been administered a dose of a coronavirus vaccine compared to 103 per 100,000 people in high-income countries, according to Moeti.

“Vaccine coverage remains low, with only 2% of Africans being fully vaccinated against Covid-19,” she said.

Despite the slow pace, the WHO is still hopeful of reaching its target of vaccinating at least 30% of the population in Africa by the end of year.

“But there’s hope as vaccine shipments pick up pace with the COVAX Facility delivering almost ten million doses to Africa so far in August,” the regional director said.

The figure however remains in sharp contrast to vaccination rates in Europe and the United States, which have inoculated over half of their population and are starting to administer booster shots.

“The situation remains very fragile. More countries are reporting variants of concern, with Alpha now in 44 African countries, Beta in 39, Delta in 30 and Gamma in four,” Moeti warned.

Africa has reported 7.3 million cases of Covid-19 and 186,367 deaths as the continent experiences an aggressive third wave driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant. EFE


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