AfricaCDC, Others say India’s COVID Surge is a Warning to Africa

The rise in Covid-19 infections and deaths in India is a warning to African countries not to relax their guard, according to the continent’s health bodies. 

The Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (AfricaCDC) and the World Health Organization, Africa Region (WHO-Afro) also believe that the continent must act now, collectively and decisively, to avoid a repeat of the situation. 

The WHO-Afro cautioned that the possibility of a new wave of infections in Africa remains high, with Africa-bound Covid-19 vaccine doses from the Serum Institute of India (SII) being postponed for the near future, sluggish vaccine rollouts, and new variants making inroads.

According to the AfricaCDC, about 20.2 million of the 37.6 million Covid-19 vaccine doses obtained in Africa have been administered so far.

“This figures corresponds to a coverage rate of 1.14 percent at the continental level, with 0.39 percent of the population having received a full vaccine regimen (up by 0.02 percent points from the previous week). To date, AU member states have used 53.8 percent of the vaccine supply available,” reported Dr John Nkengasong, Director of the continent’s public health agency.

“While we call for vaccine equity Africa must also knuckle down and make the best of what we have. We must get all the doses we have into people’s arms,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organisation (WHO) regional director for Africa.

“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.”

The warning came as the AfricaCDC prepares to host a high-level meeting of African health ministers to discuss the continent’s pandemic situation. The meeting is set to review the state of the Covid-19 pandemic in Africa and evaluate the implementation of the joint continental strategy, a year after the first cases were reported.

According to EastAfrican, India is currently fighting its highest surge in Covid-19 cases since the pandemic started. With new variants circulating, low vaccination levels, population fatigue in adhering to preventive measures, and easing of restrictions, the conditions are present for a resurgence.

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