Africa’s top health official is launching a campaign to urge young people to encourage vaccinations as only 11.3% of the continent’s 1.3 billion people are vaccinated against Covid-19.
Young people will be encouraged to “play an active role” in scaling up inoculations on the continent, where the vaccination rate is far lower than in other parts of the world, the director of the Africa Center for Control and Prevention said on Thursday. Diseases (Africa CDC), John Nkengasong.
Africa has 10.8 million confirmed infections and 240,000 deaths so far, and vaccination efforts have accelerated as vaccine doses “become readily available” on the continent, Nkengasong said.
Over the past four weeks, Africa has seen an average drop of 10% in new cases, he added.
Of the 597 million doses of vaccines Africa has received so far, 64 percent have been administered, he said.
The campaign titled “Young Africans for Covid-19 Vaccination: Initiative to Save Lives and Livelihoods”, “will be an important initiative” as the average age of the African population is 19.5 years, stressed Mr Nkengasong.
At least 70% of the population is under 30, so we need to engage young people to play an active role in scaling up immunization, mobilizing and reaching out to their peers,” he continued. .
Another effort will be to promote self-testing “so that communities and people take ownership of their own testing and take appropriate action”, he said.
“If they know their status, they can take appropriate measures to stay home, protect themselves, protect their loved ones and protect their communities,” Nkengasong insisted.
Only 94 million tests – 1.1 million last week – have been carried out so far in Africa and the test positivity rate remains relatively high, at 11.4%, according to official statistics.