europe Cuba COVID-19 Vaccine nphcda nigeria vaccination
Over a million lives in Europe were saved because of the COVID-19 vaccines.

COVID-19: Nigeria, Five Others Achieve 40% Vaccination Rate

Nigeria and 15 other African countries had less than five per cent vaccination rate in early 2022, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). But the most populous black nation and five others, later, made remarkable progress in less than 18 months to reach close to 40 per cent vaccination mark.

The global agency, yesterday, in a statement, said: “At the start of 2022, the COVID-19 vaccination rate was less than five per cent on average in the participating countries: Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Tanzania.”

It stated that a European Union (EU)-funded and WHO-implemented project fortified health systems for future epidemics and vaccine-preventable diseases.

The organisation noted that COVID-19 vaccination coverage is on the rise in Africa’s most fragile humanitarian settings, as the two-year project comes to a close.

“That rate is now closing in on 30 per cent – the continent’s average. Thirty-four million people have received the two-dose vaccinations – more than one in four people across the population of all countries,” it observed.

The project’s objective has been to prioritise the most vulnerable people and communities.

Read Also: How Nigeria surpassed 30% COVID-19 vaccination milestone – Gavi

Crucially important for achieving this success were national health workers, trained by WHO, that have been administering vaccines in urban hubs, remote villages, refugee and displacement camps, workplaces, public spaces and elsewhere. The number of WHO-trained health workers rose from about 130,000 in 2022 to almost two million by May this year.

The health workers are a precious and resilient asset for national governments and communities, as they are prepared to provide an effective response to any future epidemic.

WHO noted: “We have seen a remarkable progress in all countries – particularly Chad, Guinea, Niger, Sudan, South Sudan and Nigeria – that reached close to 40 per cent vaccination rate, as well as Central African Republic, Mozambique and Somalia that surpassed the 40 per cent rate. And Liberia, showing the most progress, with eight out of ten people now vaccinated.”

According to the organisation, vaccination efforts reached close to 12 million refugees, internally displaced persons and migrants across 11 countries. Four in 10 of them received a full primary series (first and second doses), and more than half of them received at least a dose. Close to 13 million people among these vulnerable groups were reached with awareness campaigns, delivered in their settings, and in their own languages, by local health workers.

It said close to 26 million older people (38 per cent of the total in all countries) completed their primary vaccine series, providing crucial protection against COVID-19.

With significant knowledge transfer, training and fieldwork, the national vaccination and immunisation programmes have been strengthened in the long run.

WHO observed that countries are now more resilient against the disease and ready to tackle other vaccine-preventable ailments and health emergencies.