- Only a mere 3.6 per cent of Africa is vaccinated.
- At the end of the year, the continent’s vaccine uptake will not even reach half the intended amount.
- COVAX will this year supply Africa with about 470 million doses of the Covid jabs
The African Union (AU) has warned that scepticism over Covid vaccination in Africa is caused by misconceptions about the jab advising African countries to invest in Social Behaviour Change Campaigns (SBCC) that will ‘kill off’ the misconceptions and increase vaccine uptake.
Sharing the extremely low statistics of vaccination uptake in Africa, the Head of the Secretariat of AU’s Economic Social and Cultural Council, William Carew, said there is a need for every African nation to conduct strategic intensive public awareness campaigns to bring about social behaviour change.
So far only a mere 3.6 per cent of Africa is vaccinated, a very minute number if the continent is to join the rest of the world to achieve immunity.
Speaking during the AU’s Covid-19 vaccines capacity building and sensitization meeting, the diplomat pointed out that:
“There is just a lot of misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines and this is leading to scepticism which in turn is keeping the people from taking their shots.”
Held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the event is part of an ongoing continent-wide campaign designed to increase access to and encourage the uptake of the covid-19 vaccines if the continent is to build herd immunity.
In an official statement issued by the AU, Mr Carew said: “There has been a lot of misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccines that has contributed to many people being wary of getting vaccinated.”
The official called on Africans to implement public health experts’ assertion that vaccination remains the only realistic path to finally halting the spread of the virus, given its ease of transmissible and ability to mutate.
Emphasizing the importance of creating public awareness campaigns, Carew said: “I want to urge you all to take this opportunity to get the right information about the vaccines and help us to educate the communities that you operate in.”
Africa Covid Vaccine Data
Owing to the prevalent misconceptions on Covid vaccination, Africa’s uptake remains very low. It is estimated that come the end of the year, the continent vaccine uptake will not even reach half the intended amount.
In fact, COVAX, the authority in charge of Covid vaccine distribution will this year supply Africa with about 470 million doses of the Covid jabs. However, this amount is significantly lower than the actual target.
This amount of vaccines may sound considerably large but in reality, it’s not, it’s actually only enough to vaccinate a mere 17 per cent of the population and that is way below the intended global year-end target of vaccinating 40 per cent of Africa’s population.
As such, this shortfall in vaccine doses is worsened by the misconceptions that are keeping the public from usurping even the few doses that have made it into the continent. Falling short of explaining why the World Health Organization (WHO) warns that the COVAX facility has been forced to reduce the number of planned vaccine deliveries to Africa.
According to the WHO, some 150 million vaccines that were intended for delivery to Africa this year will not make it. As a result, the continent is facing a shortage of more than 500 million doses.
As mentioned, this shortage is worsened by the public reluctance to get vaccinated and hence the need for social behaviour change campaigns (SBCC) to address the misconceptions that are making the public reluctant to accept the vaccines.
The WHO warns that an additional 470 million doses are needed if Africa is to achieve the intended target of vaccinating 40 per cent of the continent. Whether COVAX will be able to get the extra doses before the year ends remains to be seen, however, what is for sure, is the fact that African countries must conduct social behaviour change campaigns (SBCC) if the continent is to make the best of the little number of vaccines that it has already received.