The World Health Organization is urging countries in Africa to prepare for the arrival of a vaccine as soon as possible. W.H.O warned that African countries are far from ready to roll out a COVID-19 vaccine, whenever one becomes available.
It says only a third of countries on the continent have a health infrastructure capable of conducting mass vaccination campaigns.
WHO also says only half of the countries on the continent have set aside funding and identified priority cases who will receive the vaccine first.
The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention Africa CDC has said vaccinating people will be a big challenge. Africa CDC hopes to vaccinate at least 60% of people on the continent, arguing that this should help achieve herd immunity.
There are now more than 2.1 million cases on the continent – less than 4% of the global total.
The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention director, Dr John Nkegasong, has said the process might not start until the second quarter of next year.
Until then, people have been urged to rely on the public health measures that have been put in place to prevent further spread of COVID-19.
Baby Vaccination Drops In Rwanda Amid Lockdown
Baby vaccination rate is of concern to Rwandan authorities. The Rwanda biomedical center says it expects to vaccinate 360,000 babies every year with their first shot, but the number has dropped in Kigali during the total lockdown.
Some mothers in Kigali city say they cannot miss their babies’ vaccination schedules despite the city currently being in total lockdown.
At a vaccination exercise in Kigali on Monday, not all who were supposed to bring their babies for the vaccination showed up, thinking the medical personnel would not be available because of the lockdown.
The Rwanda biomedical center says the government spends $10 million annually to provide babies with no cost vaccinations.
Tunisian Protesters Marching To Parliament Blocked
Hundreds of Tunisians have taken to the streets in renewed protests. The demonstrations first, in the town of Sbeitla were triggered by reports that an injured young man during last week’s clashes, Haykel Rachdi, had died. The man’s family said he was hit by a tear gas canister.
He had joined nationwide protests to mark the 10th anniversary of the Tunisian revolution, which ushered in democracy and triggered the Arab spring uprisings across the region.
Soldiers were deployed to government buildings in the town after protesters tried to storm the police station.
On Tuesday, Tunisian police blocked the path of hundreds of protestors who were trying to reach the parliament building in the capital, Tunis.
It was the latest in a series of demonstrations that have been fueled by frustration at the lack of jobs and spiraling prices.
More than one thousand young protesters had been arrested during the previous protests, and many of the protesters on Tuesday were calling for their release.
Morocco Begins Rolling Out COVID-19 Vaccinations
After Egypt, Morocco is set to become the latest country in Africa to roll out a vaccination programme against COVID-19 giving priority to frontline medical staff.
The country has received two million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, and is expected to take delivery of half a million doses from China’s Sinopharm on Wednesday.
Morocco was hit hard last year when it recorded a higher number of cases compared to its neighbours
Tunisia has pushed back its vaccination campaign to April, while Algeria expects to acquire a batch of Russia’s Sputnik V vacc Oxford/AstraZeneca ine by the end of this month.