The World Health Organisation on Thursday said the average readiness across the African region is far below the desired benchmark of 80 percent to conduct a successful and efficient vaccination drive.
Speaking during the WHO Africa online press briefing on COVID-19 in Africa, the Immunization and Vaccines Development Programme Coordinator at WHO Regional Office for Africa, Dr. Richard Mihigo, said the average readiness across the region is, unfortunately, only at 36 percent.
Mihigo also said the region may not have enough capacity to store the vaccine.
He said, “We have arrived at a pivotal moment, where we are seeing vaccines being approved and rolled out in high incomes countries.
“This really emphasises the need to be ready in our region. Many countries in our continent are reporting on their progress.
“The average readiness across the region is, unfortunately, only at 36 percent. This is really far below the desired benchmark of 80 percent to conduct a successful and efficient vaccination drive.”
The expert said there is a need to review the vaccine distribution strategy, mapping the points of storage and additional backup storage facilities.
“The key areas that need attention are the logistics and supply chain and, specifically, the need to review the vaccine distribution strategy, mapping the points of storage and additional backup storage facilities.
“As we know, the region may not have enough capacity to store the vaccine. So, this [vaccine distribution strategy] should include the private sector, such as the food & beverage industries,” he said.
Speaking further, he said the pandemic has shown that, globally, the vulnerability in one place is a risk to everyone.
“It is important that the public health measures remain scaled up to find, test, isolate cases, and to trace and isolate contacts.
“The preventive measures need to be reinforced and sustained in communities — to keep a distance, wear face masks, and frequently practise hand hygiene,” he said.
Also speaking, the Regional Advisor, Risk Management and Preparedness for WHO Regional Office for Africa, Dr. Nsenga Ngoy, said the risk of high transmission, or amplification of transmission, is still high in Africa.
According to him, there is a fatigue in the general population and relaxing of observing public health interventions.
“When we talk about a second or third COVD-19 wave, it is the same pandemic. It means that transmission in the community has accelerated.
“This is what we call in epidemiological jargon ‘the amplification of the transmission,’” Ngoy said.
The post Africa’s readiness for vaccine far below benchmark -WHO appeared first on Healthwise.