COVID-19: Majority of African health workers not yet vaccinated, WHO laments

 

A preliminary analysis by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that three out four of African health workers have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Making this disclosure at a virtual news conference on Thursday, WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti disclosed that only 27 per cent of health workers in Africa were fully vaccinated against COVID-19, exposing the rest 73 per cent to the dangers of the deadly virus.

Ms Moeti said that majority of Africa’s health workers were still missing out on vaccines and remained dangerously exposed to severe COVID-19 infection.

“The majority of Africa’s health workers are still missing out on vaccines and remain dangerously exposed to severe COVID-19 infection. Unless our doctors, nurses and other frontline workers get full protection we risk a blowback in the efforts to curb this disease. We must ensure our health facilities are safe working environments,” Ms Moeti said.

“It is important to have high vaccine coverage among health workers not only for their own protection but also for their patients and to ensure health care systems keep operating during a time of extreme need,” she added.

The regional director warned that the continent risks a blowback except health workers were fully protected by receiving full doses of the vaccine.

Predicting that a fourth wave was likely to hit after end-of-year travels, Ms Moeti said that it would be risky for the continent to lose any of its essential health workers to illness or death from COVID-19.

According to her, the risk of health worker infection rises whenever cases surge.

She further revealed that a further reduction in the already limited number of health workers would adversely affect the continent’s effort to contain the virus.

The regional director said findings the preliminary analysis from 25 countries revealed that since about 1.3 million health workers were fully vaccinated, with just six countries reaching more than 90 per cent.

She said disclosed that her organisation was coordinating training and dialogue on vaccine safety and efficacy to scale up health worker vaccination and address doubts or misconceptions around the vaccine.