WHO urges stronger community role in COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Reading Time: 2 minutes

As African countries gear up for COVID-19 vaccination, the World Health Organization (WHO) has called for increased collaboration with communities to enhance the uptake of vaccines once they become available.

A 10-point vaccine readiness assessment tool for the 47 countries in WHO African Region finds that progress by countries in bolstering community engagement is only at 12%, far below the optimal score of at least 80%.

Community engagement, a crucial aspect for vaccine uptake, is among the least advanced categories in the assessment tool.

Other key areas of the assessment tool are planning and coordination, resource mobilisation, vaccine regulation, service delivery, training and supervision, monitoring and evaluation, vaccine logistics, vaccine safety and surveillance.

WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti says, “The success of any immunisation campaign hinges on communities’ trust and acceptance. It is vital that we equip them with the right information, allay any fears and address concerns.”

Below is the full statement:

Second wave

 The Africa Centres for Disease Control has warned that the peak of the second wave of COVID-19 infections is likely to be higher than the first wave.

It has called on the United Nations to urgently convene a special session on vaccine nationalism to ensure equitable distribution of the coronavirus vaccine.

Africa CDC Director, Dr John Nkengasong says, “My speculation is that by January or so or February, we will be where we were at the peak of this pandemic in July, August. I think, clearly, the second wave is here. Let there be no doubt. We, as a continent of 1.2 billion people, have been saying ‘unless and until we strive the vaccinate, at least 60% of our population will end up having COVID.’”

SABC Foreign Editor, Sophie Mokoena filed the story below: