Africa CDC: Continent on course to vaccinate 70% this year

By Mogomotsi Magome

JOHANNESBURG (AP) – The African continent is on course to reach its target of vaccinating at least 70% of its population against COVID-19 by the end of 2022, the head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters on Thursday.

The continental public health agency said it has been encouraged by a surge in vaccinations in countries like Nigeria, where vaccine hesitancy appears to be waning with the destruction of expired doses and increased availability of vaccines.

About 11% of the continent’s 1.3 billion population is fully vaccinated.

Africa CDC director John Nkengasong said the continent’s vaccination target is achievable if current trends are maintained and vaccinations ramped up across countries.

“If those trends we have seen across several countries are maintained, then we remain hopeful that we should be going to that target,” he said.

Nkengasong said studies including those conducted by the Africa CDC “point to the fact that on average, about 80% of the population of countries that have been studied are ready to receive the vaccines.”

However, “each time there is noise about a vaccine, like expiration or things like AstraZeneca vaccines not arriving on time, it creates some sort of hesitation,” he added.

The Africa CDC says 580 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been received in Africa and 64% have been administered.