Health officials across Africa are calling for a faster supply of COVID-19 vaccines to the continent as it tackles a new wave of coronavirus infections and attempts to curb the evolution of potentially dangerous new variants.
According to reports, less than one in 100 individuals across the continent have been administered with a vaccine dose. This means that the rapidly surging infections in the continent are likely to lead to tens of thousands of deaths.
Matshidiso Moeti, the regional director for World Health Organization Africa, stated that Africa requires millions of more vaccine jabs on the African soil and it needs it now. Moeti added that Africa has found itself in the middle of a full-fledged third wave. With India and some other nations as examples, the world has witnessed just how quick Covid-19 can resurge and effectively overwhelm the national healthcare systems.
Officials have openly welcomed the pledge made by the G7 to deliver more than 1 billion coronavirus vaccine doses to developing economies. However, after cases went up by over 30% week-on-week throughout Africa, officials have been calling for a much larger supply immediately.
According to the WHO, the Delta variant of the virus is present in over 14 countries across Africa, while the Beta variant, which was first discovered in South Africa, is in over 25 nations. As it stands, at least 7 African nations have exhausted their vaccine stocks and 7 more have used up nearly 80% of their existing stocks.
Some of the African countries that are worst-hit by the pandemic are South Africa, Zambia, Tunisia, Namibia, and Uganda. The third COVID-19 wave in South Africa has arrived after several delays in its national vaccine programme. While the nation has officially recorded over 58,000 COVID-19 deaths, experts and excess mortality numbers suggest the actual total could be closer to approximately 160,000.