Covid-19: WHO decries ‘vaccine injustice’ against Nigeria, others

World Health Organization (WHO) says it has continued to insist on a moratorium on boosters until at least the end of September, so as to enable at least 10 percent of the population of every country to be vaccinated.

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Speaking during the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) organized

National Vaccination update, in Abuja, Tuesday, WHO Country Representative in Nigeria, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, decried cases of vaccine injustice meted out to poor countries, describing it as ‘a shame on all humanity.’

Represented by Dr. Kofi Boateng, EPI Focal Point, Universal Health Coverage (UHC),  Mulombo  warned that ‘if the world does not tackle it together, it would prolong the acute stage of this pandemic for years when it could be over in a matter of months.’

According to him; “In Africa, the third wave appears to have stabilized but the number of new cases is still very high with almost 248 000 reported in the past week.

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“The trend we see is that each new wave strikes Africa faster and harder, reaching a higher number of new cases more rapidly than the previous wave. This puts an increasing strain on already stretched health facilities and health workers.

“It is useful to point out that vaccine supplies to Africa continue to rise, spurring vaccine uptake.

“The increasing vaccine supplies raise hopes that the continent will meet the target of vaccinating 10% of the population by the end of September”, he stressed.

Also speaking, the United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF) in Nigeria, representative, Dr. Gupta Gagan commended the NPHCDA and its leadership for the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination drive.

Gupta said the challenge faced in the administration of the vaccine would be reaching out to citizens to go and receive their second doses.

“All those who have received the first dose should please go back for their second dose because if you don’t you should know that you are not fully protected,” he noted.

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He, however, assured that Nigeria would meet the WHO target of vaccinating 10% of its population by the end of September.

Meanwhile, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Tuesday, said over 200,000 people have died of COVID-19 on the African continent since the outbreak of the viral infection.

This is also global cases have hit 218,339,530 with 705,591 new infections

The agency disclosed this in its latest update, noting that the continent has now recorded 7,926,999 cases with over 7million recoveries.

The African Union health agency also stated that 7,130,039 recoveries had been recorded despite the increase in fatalities.

In the Africa CDC’s latest report, the Central African region has recorded 222,014 cases; 3,219 deaths and 190,886 recoveries while Cameroon has the highest figures with 84,210 cases; 1,357 deaths; 81,326 and recoveries.

East Africa, according to the report, recorded 925,799 cases; 19,093 deaths and 793,108 recoveries with Ethiopia leading the region with 316,174 cases; 4,785 deaths and 284,895 recoveries.

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In Northern Africa, there are now 2,402,702 cases; 64,384 deaths and 2,108,032 recoveries while Morocco has the highest figures with 886,008 cases; 13,145 deaths and 828,148 recoveries.

According to the report, Southern Africa has now recorded 3,761,071 cases; 104,387 deaths and 3,471,448 recoveries as South Africa is still the leading country on the continent with 2,824,063 cases; 83,617 deaths and 2,599,667 recoveries.

The Africa CDC report shows that Nigeria has the highest figures in the West African region with 195,890 cases; 2,556 deaths and 184,882 recoveries out of 615,413 cases; 8,962 deaths and 566,565 recoveries recorded.

WHO has said that though the African continent has the lowest vaccination coverage at two percentage, this is unacceptable.

According to WHO, the continent must strengthen its surveillance systems, bolster treatment capacities, step up the supply of crucial medicines and swiftly vaccinate those most in need.

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