The head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) on Thursday said the COVID-19 pandemic is still a threat in Africa given low vaccination rates, reported The Reuters.
“The virus is still circulating, and with the low rates of vaccination the pandemic is still very much with us here on the continent,” Ahmed Ogwell Ouma said during a press conference on Thursday.
Ouma’s reply came in response to a question about whether he agreed with the World Health Organization (WHO) chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who said the end of the COVID pandemic was now in sight.
“We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic,” Ghebreyesus told reporters at a virtual news conference on Wednesday. “We are not there yet, but the end is in sight.”
The Africa CDC director said just more than 22 percent of the African people were fully vaccinated against COVID-19. He said that the African health body would continue pushing to raise the vaccination number as the levels of protection are still relatively low.
Notably, African countries struggled to get early supplies of COVID vaccines as wealthy and developed nations hoarded vaccine doses, and now hesitancy and logistics problems have added to the woes.
Ouma said the Africa CDC’s main focus is to get as many people on the African continent as possible fully vaccinated, and not to procure new vaccines targeting specific COVID-19 variants like Omicron.
In related news, the Africa CDC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the French development agency (AFD), marking a shared commitment to expand their partnership in public health.
According to a press statement issued by the Embassy of France in Ethiopia, as part of the memorandum, AFD will provide a grant amounting to 2.4 million Euros under two pillars to support Africa CDC’s mandate in Africa’s public health, particularly in emergency preparedness and response.