GENEVA/NAIROBI, Sept 30 (Reuters) – Only 15 of Africa’s 54 nations have fully vaccinated 10 per cent of their populations against COVID-19 and many frontline health workers remain at risk, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and International Council of Nurses (ICN) said yesterday.
They called for speeding up distribution of doses to those at risk on the continent amid what the WHO called “opaque delivery plans” and “bottlenecks” in the rollout of vaccines in Africa.
The WHO had called for vaccinating at least 10 per cent of health workers in every country by yesterday- a target met by nearly 90 per cent of high-income countries, the United Nations health agency said.
Half of the 52 African countries that have received COVID-19 vaccines have fully vaccinated just 2 per cent or less of their populations, WHO’s regional office in Brazzaville said in a statement.
It showed that approximately a third of health workers were still waiting for their first dose of vaccine and only about 10 percent had been fully vaccinated.
“Despite the promises, we are not seeing the delivery And this is a health and a human rights crisis,” he said. “Today nurses and health workers are still going to work knowing that they are at higher risk, but not having the protection of vaccine.”
In the meantime, some rich countries are already administering booster shots and vaccines to youth, he said.
Richard Mihigo, coordinator for the WHO’s Immunization and Vaccines Development Programme Africa, told a briefing: “What the data is showing us – in the 39 countries where we were able to collect that information, 8 per cent of all the doses administered in those 39 countries were administered to healthcare workers.”
Some healthcare workers in remote rural areas have not been reached, he said.