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    Saturday, December 12, 2020

    COVID-19: Vaccine is Best Hope for Africa, says WHO

    As African countries gear up for COVID-19 vaccination, the World Health Organization (WHO) calls for increased collaboration with communities to enhance the uptake of vaccines once they become available.

    World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti has said that vaccines are the best hope of ending COVID-19 pandemic on the continent.

    Moeti made this known in a statement posted on WHO Regional Office for Africa website.

    She also said that vaccines would be made available to the most vulnerable countries first.

    “The success of any immunization campaign hinges on communities’ trust and acceptance. It is vital that we equip them with the right information, allay any fears and address concerns,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

    Engaging communities increases the likelihood that they will take the lead on issues affecting them, eases access and use of services. It also facilitates comprehension and access to information, enables feedback and, critically for COVID-19 vaccination, helps in understanding vaccine safety and addressing possible adverse events following immunization.

    “Vaccines are our best hope of ending this pandemic. While all the efforts being made for successful immunization campaigns are critical, without community support they can easily flounder,” said Dr Moeti.

    When COVID-19 vaccines become available, it is expected that they will be provided first to the most vulnerable and those at the highest risk. Initial groups will likely include frontline health workers, older people and adults with underlying conditions such heart disease or diabetes.

    The initial COVID-19 vaccine supplies will be limited, as such will not be available to everyone right away. WHO and other immunization partners are providing technical support to countries in the African region to prepare for a successful COVID-19 vaccination rollout. Through the COVAX Facility, WHO and partners are working with governments and vaccine manufacturers to procure COVID-19 vaccine doses to cover 20% of the African population, initially focusing on those at the highest risk.

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