JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Africa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has improved over time but the continent needs to accelerate the pace of vaccination to control the pandemic, the head of the World Health Organization’s Africa division said on Thursday.
“We are finally able to say that if the current trends hold, there is light at the end of the tunnel. As long as we remain vigilant and we act intensively particularly on vaccination, the continent is on track for controlling the pandemic,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa.
She said the response had become more effective with each new wave of the virus, noting that the first wave had lasted 29 weeks while the fourth was over in six weeks.
However, Moeti said 85% of Africans had yet to receive a single dose of vaccine, and uptake needed to be significantly accelerated.
“A steady supply of doses is now reaching our shores, so the focus needs to be on translating those into actual shots in people’s arms,” she said.
(Reporting by Alexander Winning and James Macharia Chege; Writing by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Catherine Evans)