Most African Nations Fall Short of W.H.O. Target for Covid Vaccination

The African countries that have had the most success acquired doses through several channels, including initiatives like Covax and the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Trust, direct purchases from manufacturers, and donations.

For Eswatini, a landlocked monarchy in southern Africa, a July donation of more than 300,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses from the U.S. government was “a game-changer,” said Fortunate Bhembe, an official with the country’s ministry of health.

The country has also purchased about 400,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Together with more than 100,000 doses expected from Covax later this year, they are intended for use in children ages 12 to 16, Ms. Bhembe said.

South Africa, which has the highest number of cumulative Covid-19 cases on the continent, is emerging from a third wave of Covid-19 infections driven by the Delta variant, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday. At the peak of the wave in July, the country recorded an average of roughly 20,000 new cases a day, the most since last January.

The average number of new infections reported in the last week was around 1,800 a day, Mr. Ramaphosa said, a downward trend that has encouraged officials to ease Covid-19 lockdown regulations, including a curfew and size limit for public gatherings, in place since last March.

“We have been living under the shadow of the pandemic for 574 days now, and all of us have taken strain,” Mr. Rhamaposa said.

South African officials hope to vaccinate 70 percent of the country’s population by the end of the year. So far about 15 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated, according to the Our World in Data project at the University of Oxford.

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