African expert says vaccination key to recovery from pandemic

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 15, 2021
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NAIROBI, March 15 (Xinhua) -- The ability of African countries to flatten the COVID-19 curve, strengthen the resilience of health systems and hasten economic recovery hinges on greater uptake of the vaccine, Githinji Gitahi, Global CEO and director-general of Nairobi-based Amref Health Africa said on Monday.

Githinji Gitahi said that mass immunization will boost other public health measures aimed at containing the pandemic in the continent.

"Whereas these measures of wearing masks, social distancing and washing hands are important and critical for keeping down the force of transmission, vaccination becomes the critical intervention which actually improves the immunity of people and overtime makes sure the virus is stopped in its tracks," Gitahi said.

He said that inoculating a critical mass of African citizens against the virus will enable countries to relax stringent public health interventions and pave the way for the full resumption of economic activities.

Statistics from Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate the continent had 4.03 million COVID-19 cases as of Sunday while fatalities stood at 107,582.

According to the Africa CDC, 28 African countries had by March 9 received COVID-19 vaccines. Inoculation targeting high-risk groups like health workers, teachers and security personnel has already kicked off in 16 African countries, according to Africa CDC.

Gitahi said that the widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines in Africa remains a challenge amid cut-throat demand globally, budgetary constraints, logistical hiccups and limited manufacturing capacity in the continent.

He said that vaccine equity that featured prominently at the just concluded Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC), should be at the heart of the continent's quest to contain the pandemic. Enditem

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