COVID-19 vaccination climbing slowly in Africa

COVID vaccination in Zambia
COVID vaccination in Zambia

USAID / Flickr cc

Though the pace of COVID-19 vaccination in Africa is well behind the rest of the world due to persistent supply inequity, the region is making modest progress, with some countries reaching the goal of immunizing 10% of their population by the end of September, the World Health Organization (WHO) African regional office said today in its latest outbreaks and health emergencies update.

Small share of world's vaccine supply in Africa

Of the 12 countries that hit the 10% goal, most have small populations, except for South Africa, the WHO said. Most had the resources to acquire vaccines or make bilateral deals beyond their COVAX deliveries.

Currently, 4.5% of the African population is fully vaccinated, well below the average 55% to 66% levels seen in the United States and Europe. The WHO said African countries have received 201 million doses, which makes up 2.4% of the world's distribution. The African region has administered 71% of the doses it has received.

"Countries still need to double their efforts to reach the year-end target of fully vaccinating 40% of the population," the WHO said.

The region's COVID-19 cases continued a downward trend for the 11th week in a row, though some countries experienced increases over the past week, including Angola, Benin, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Mauritius, and Sao Tome and Principe. Deaths are also continuing to drop.

More global headlines

  • In Australia, Victoria state recorded the highest daily COVID-19 case total of any of the country's states, with 1,763 new cases, according to Reuters. Also, Australia's prime minister said the nation will buy 300,000 courses of Merck's experimental antiviral molnupiravir, which could be available in early 2022 if the country's drug regulator approves the treatment.

  • India's highest court has ordered states to pay $672 (50,000 rupees) as compensation for each COVID-19 death, in order to help families cope with the loss, according to Reuters.

  • In Europe, Russia today reported a daily record high for deaths, with 895 reported, and in Romania, hospitals are running out of intensive care unit beds as daily cases reach daily record high numbers, according to Bloomberg News, which said the country has one of Europe's lowest vaccination levels.

  • Singapore—still one of Asia's COVID-19 hot spots—today recorded a new daily high of 3,486 cases, according to Channel News Asia.

  • The global total today reached 235,645,770 cases, along with 4,813,408 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard.

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