Five African Countries Set to Reach 40% Vaccination Goal

The World Health Organization says only five African countries, less than 10 percent of the continent’s nations are on track to meet the goal of vaccinating 40 percent of their populations by the end of the year.

In a virtual news briefing, WHO Regional Director, Matshidiso Moeti said for other African nations to have a chance to meet the goal, they will need to receive 30 million vaccine doses a week, nearly double the current 17 million they are receiving from all sources.

Seychelles, Mauritius, and Morocco have already met the 40-percent goal established during the WHO-sponsored World Health Assembly in May. At the current pace two other countries, Tunisia and Cabo Verde will likely reach the goal as well.

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Moeti said the region is facing the looming threat of a syringe shortage and that the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) predicts a global shortage of around two billion of the auto-disposable syringes needed for COVID-19 vaccine and routine immunization.

According to the WHO Africa chief said some African countries, such as Kenya, Rwanda, and South Africa, have already experienced delays in receiving syringes and unless drastic measures are taken to boost syringe production, the continent could face a crisis.

She warned there is no global stockpile of the specialized syringes, which differ from the 0.5ml syringes used for other types of COVID-19 vaccine and routine vaccination.

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WHO Africa says the COVAX Facility is working to address the threat by securing deals with syringe manufacturers, and through better planning to avoid vaccine deliveries outpacing the supply of syringes.

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