Africa: Slow Vaccine Rollout Puts Africa in 'Race Against Time', WHO Warns

A Covid-19 vaccine dose.

World Health Organization has warned of a new wave of Covid-19 infections in Africa amid a slow vaccine rollout and a spike in variants.

The global health body said vaccine doses from the Serum Institute of India had been delayed for the foreseeable future.

"The tragedy in India does not have to happen here in Africa, but we must all be on the highest possible alert," WHO regional director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti told journalists Thursday.

Africa's vaccination rate is the lowest in the world. The continent accounts for 1 percent of vaccine doses administered globally, down from 2 percent a few weeks ago.

There are now nearly 4.6 million coronavirus infections in Africa, with some 123,000 deaths.

Africa's #COVID19 vaccination coverage is the lowest for any region of the world. The continent now accounts for only 1% of the vaccines administered worldwide, down from 2% a few weeks ago. pic.twitter.com/PvIgsheKqA

- WHO African Region (@WHOAFRO) May 6, 2021

'Race against time'

"It's a race against time and the virus. Given the limited supply, we recommend that countries prioritise giving the first dose to as many high-risk people as possible in the shortest amount of time," Moeti said.

While there had been a slight decrease in case numbers after a six-week plateau, Moeti said that in nine countries - including Angola, Cabo Verde, Cameroon and Eritrea - there is an "upward trend".

Pfizer and BioNTech to donate vaccines for Olympic athletes

France welcomes US-backed plan to waive Covid vaccine patents

The WHO warned that new coronavirus variants risked unleashing a "third wave" on the continent.

"While we call for vaccine equity, Africa must also knuckle down and make the best of what we have," Moeti said.

"We must get all the doses we have into people's arms."

More From: RFI

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 900 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.

X