Africa on the verge of missing crucial COVID-19 vaccination target: WHO

Roughly 39 million people fully vaccinated to date in a continent of about 1.3 billion.

Nearly 80% of countries in Africa are at risk of missing the globally set target of vaccinating 10% of the most vulnerable groups against COVID-19 by the end of September. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 42 of Africa's 54 nations are set to miss this vaccine target unless the current pace of vaccine deliveries and vaccinations increases. According to WHO data, nine African countries including South Africa, Morocco, and Tunisia have already achieved this goal, three more are on track, and two more "may achieve it if vaccination rates are increased." Over 143 million vaccine doses have been received in Africa and around 39 million people have been fully vaccinated which accounts for less than 3% of the continent’s population.

"Vaccine hoarding has set Africa back and we urgently need more vaccines," said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO's Africa regional director. Though, adding, "As more doses arrive, African countries must zero in and drive forward precise plans to rapidly vaccinate the millions of people that still face a grave threat from COVID-19,". The WHO noted the continuing inequity in the distribution of doses to Africa however found it encouraging that it is improving with almost 21 million doses arriving in August, via the COVAX Initiative. Despite the fact that Africa's third wave peaked in July, new cases are declining at a glacial pace — significantly slower than in prior waves. To date Africa has seen almost eight million reported cases and 196,000 lives lost to the virus.