Story at a glance
- Around one-third of African nations met a goal to vaccinate 10 percent of their populations by Sept. 30.
- Nearly 90 percent of wealthy nations achieved the goal set by the World Health Assembly.
- Half of African countries have vaccinated two percent or fewer of their citizens.
Around one-third of African nations met a goal to vaccinate 10 percent of their populations by Sept. 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday.
Fifteen out of 52 nations, including Morocco, Tunisia, Seychelles and Mauritius, exceeded the mark, while nearly 90 percent of wealthy nations achieved the goal set by the World Health Assembly, according to WHO. Half of African countries have vaccinated two percent or fewer of their citizens.
“The latest data shows modest gains but there is still a long way to go to reach the WHO target of fully vaccinating 40% of the population by the end of the year. Shipments are increasing but opaque delivery plans are still the number one nuisance that hold Africa back,” Richard Mihigo, Immunization and Vaccines Development Programme Coordinator for WHO’s Regional Office for Africa said in a statement.
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New cases across the continent declined by 35 percent in the week ending Sept. 26 with 74,000 cases reported. But Mihigo urged leaders and citizens to remain committed to COVID-19 mitigation measures.
“Despite the declining case numbers we must all remain vigilant and continue to adhere to the proven public health and safety measures that we know save lives, such as wearing a mask, washing our hands regularly and physical distancing, especially while vaccination rates remain low,” Mihigo added.
Declining cases reflect a larger global trend as WHO said earlier this week that the number of new cases and deaths each declined by 10 percent in the past week. WHO said there had been an estimated 3.3 million new infections and roughly 55,000 deaths in that timeframe. The largest drop-offs were in the Middle East, the Western Pacific and the Americas.
The number of cases in the U.S. fell by nearly 31 percent, although the U.S. case count was the highest worldwide at more than 765,000. There have been more than 43 million COVID-19 cases recorded in the U.S. to date.
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