Docsun Biomed Covid Report on Risks and Challenges in Africa's Covid- 19 Vaccine Rollout

By: WHO and CDC
JHUBEI CITY, Taiwan - June 21, 2021 - PRLog -- Africa's largest-ever vaccination drive is well under way. Forty-nine African countries are rolling out COVID-19 vaccines and over 22 million doses have been given on the continent. Valuable lessons are emerging, but major risks and challenges threaten Africa's fragile gains.

Supply crunch

African countries, particularly the approximately 40 nations relying on doses from COVAX and the Serum Institute of India, are being left behind as vaccines made in India are diverted for domestic use.

WHO recommends that countries prioritize getting the first dose to as many high-risk people as possible, given the short expiry date of some vaccines.

Slow rollout

COVID-19 vaccine rollouts have been exemplary in some African countries and eight African nations have already used all of their COVAX doses. Yet nine countries have given less than a quarter of their doses and 15 countries have used less than half.

Insufficient funds

In some African countries, a lack of funds is already causing delays in addition to a lack of vaccinators, sub-optimal training, weaker communications to boost the uptake of vaccines and an inability to capture crucial data or to print and distribute immunization cards.

The World Bank estimates that Africa still needs around 12 billion US Dollars to reach enough people to ensure adequate protection from COVID-19.

Vaccine safety and hesitancy

Several African countries paused or stopped their vaccine rollouts due to safety concerns. Much of this was driven by fears of adverse side effects that were reported in Europe and the United States of America.

The suspension of the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine among younger adults in Europe has also affected the uptake of the vaccine in younger health workers in some African countries.

Targeting the most at risk

Health workers are easy to find in hospitals and clinics, yet older people and those with conditions that put them at higher risk of COVID-19, are not always easy to identify, particularly in remote areas.

Using different vaccines

WHO recommends that countries stick with the same vaccine for both doses, yet with supplies dwindling, countries may be forced to mix second doses, or risk long delays between doses.

Disruptions to essential health services

While disruptions to other immunization drives appear to be decreasing, they still pose a threat. The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines will at least double the burden on essential immunization providers in Africa and requires more cold chain capacity and financing.

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