By Motlagae Konyana
The World Health Organization in Africa says over 4.5 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed on the continent.
According to the W.H.O, Africa has received less than 2% of the COVID-19 vaccine doses administered worldwide.
South Africa’s vaccine rollout is expected to get underway from today following a pause over safety concerns.
WHO Regional Director Dr Matshidiso Moeti says COVID-19 has resulted in delays for many people accessing immunization for various diseases.
The continent marked the start of vaccination week on Monday. Dr Moeti says people cannot be left dangerously exposed to other preventable diseases.
Campaigns to immunize against measles, one of the most contagious diseases and can result in large outbreaks. Unvaccinated people are the most impacted. The 23 Measles campaigns that were postponed affected an estimated 140 million people. Many have now been delayed for over a year.
As a result of gaps in vaccination coverage, serious measles outbreaks have recently been reported in countries including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan and Yemen. At the same time, likely to occur elsewhere as growing numbers of children miss out on lifesaving vaccines, the agencies warn. These outbreaks are happening in places already grappling with conflict situations and service disruptions due to ongoing response measures to COVID-19.
World Immunization Week 2021 takes place in the last week of April (April 24th-30th) to celebrate the lifesaving benefits of vaccines. This year’s theme, ‘Vaccines bring us closer,’ aims to show how vaccination connects us to the people, goals and moments that matter, helping improve the health of everyone, everywhere throughout life.