Just over a year after the first African case of Covid-19 was discovered in Egypt, the continent has reported more than 3.9 million cases and more than 106,000 deaths. Africa CDC Chief Dr. John Nkengasong on Thursday said that vaccine arrivals in recent days have left him happy and feel that there is “light at the end of the tunnel”. Jowharregional correspondent Mukelwa Hlatshwayo watches the pandemic in Africa, a year later.
As most countries in Africa do not have the means to track mortality data, it is not clear how many deaths have occurred across the continent during the year since the Covid-19 pandemic began to spread across the continent. South Africa has been the most affected country, reporting more than 1.5 million cases and 51,000 deaths.
African countries receive vaccines from the international COVAX initiative and from donors such as India, China and Russia, which produce vaccines. But much larger doses will be needed for the massive campaign to inoculate more than half of the continent’s 1.3 billion people.
At least 22 of Africa’s 54 countries have received Covid-19 vaccines through the COVAX initiative to ensure that low- and middle-income countries receive vaccines, Nkengasong said on Thursday. The shipments range from a few thousand doses to millions sent to countries stretching from Nigeria to Uganda.
Approximately 600 million doses are expected to be delivered to Africa from COVAX, even though the plant has been subjected to delays and limited supply.
Nkengasong had previously set the goal of vaccinating 60 percent of Africa’s population by the end of this year, but the goal is now a year later, by the end of 2022.
On Thursday, the leaders of Rwanda, Malawi and Gambia all received their first Covid-19 vaccine injections.
Kenya, one of the first East African countries to launch its vaccination program, says it is officially facing a third wave of Covid-19 infections.
FRANCE 24’s regional correspondent Mukelwa Hlatshwayo looks back at the Covid-19 pandemic in Africa, the economic devastation it has played across the continent over the past year and the way forward – the race to meet the challenge of fair vaccination is rolling out .
Click on the video player above to see her report.
( Jowharwith AP and REUTERS)