About a quarter of healthcare workers in Africa have received a full dose of COVID-19 vaccine, the World Health Organization reported on Thursday, meaning most frontline workers on the continent are at risk of exposure. potentially fatal to the virus.
In contrast, a recent study of 22 predominantly high-income countries found that more than 80% of healthcare workers there were fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to the WHO.
“The majority of African health workers are still short of vaccines and remain dangerously exposed to severe infection with COVID-19,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO director for Africa, after revealing that only 27% of workers health workers on the mainland had been gibbed.
“It is important to have high immunization coverage among health workers not only for their own protection but also for their patients and to ensure that health systems continue to function during a time of extreme need,” said the WHO.
According to the WHO, only one country in Africa had the necessary number of health workers – 10.9 per 1,000 population – while 16 countries had less than one per 1,000.
“Any loss of these essential workers to COVID-19 due to illness or death therefore has a huge impact on the ability to deliver services,” the WHO said.
The WHO intervention came as scientists in South Africa revealed they had detected a new variant of COVID-19 with “a very high number of mutations,” blamed for an “exponential” increase in infections there -low.
For the first time since the peak of the third wave in August, cases in southern Africa have increased, jumping 48% as of November 21 from the previous week.
“With a new wave of cases looming over Africa after the holiday season, countries urgently need to speed up the rollout of vaccines to health workers,” Moeti said.