A World Health Organization official said Thursday that the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic on the continent appeared to be stabilizing, but numbers of infections are still very high, with almost 248,000 new cases reported in the past week alone.
During a virtual briefing on the status of the pandemic in Africa, WHO Africa Regional Director Matshidiso Moeti said that 24 countries were seeing a resurgence of infections and that deaths were rising in eight countries.
She said, “This is a preventable tragedy if African countries can get fair access to the vaccines.”
Moeti said the good news was that 13 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the past week, triple that of the previous week. She said many of the doses came from donations and sharing arrangements through the WHO-administered COVAX vaccine cooperative.
She said 117 million doses were due to arrive in Africa in the coming month. But to meet the goal of having at least 10 percent of the continent vaccinated by the end of September, she said, another 34 million doses will be needed.
The WHO Africa director urged nations with ample supplies to keep sharing doses. She said, “With international solidarity we can protect those at highest risk of COVID-19 in all countries in the world.”
She also encouraged African governments to ensure that staffing and financial resources were available when shots arrived “to get vaccines into the arms of our populations. No precious doses should be wasted.”
Some information in this report came from The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.