The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has disclosed that less than five percent of Africans has been fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
UNICEF, in a statement on Wednesday, expressed worry over vaccine inequity between high and low-income countries, particularly in Africa.
Henrietta Fore, UNICEF executive director said: “Vaccine inequity is not just holding the poorest countries back – it is holding the world back,”
“As leaders meet to set priorities for the next phase of the COVID-19 response, it is vital they remember that, in the COVID vaccine race, we either win together, or we lose together.
“Wealthy countries with more supplies than they need have generously pledged to donate these doses too low- and middle-income countries via COVAX but these promised doses are moving too slowly. Of the 1.3 billion additional doses countries have pledged to donate, only 194 million doses have been provided to COVAX.
“African countries in particular have largely been left without access to COVID-19 vaccines. Less than 5 per cent of the African population are fully vaccinated, leaving many countries at high risk of further outbreaks.
“As leaders prepare to meet for the G20 Summit in Rome this weekend, 48 UNICEF Africa ambassadors and supporters from across the continent have united in an open letter. They are calling for leaders to honour their promises to urgently deliver doses, writing that “the stakes could not be higher”.
“Every day Africa remains unprotected, pressure builds on fragile health systems where there can be one midwife for hundreds of mothers and babies.
“As the pandemic causes a spike in child malnutrition, resources are diverted from life-saving health services and childhood immunisation. Children already orphaned risk losing grandparents.
“Disaster looms for sub-Saharan African families, four out of five of whom rely on the informal sector for their daily bread. Poverty threatens children’s return to school, protection from violence and child marriage.”