BRAZZAVILLE - Only about 27 percent of health workers in Africa have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, leaving the bulk of the workforce on the frontlines against the pandemic unprotected, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday.
"The majority of Africa's health workers are still missing out on vaccines and remain dangerously exposed to severe Covid-19 infection," said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
Africa's shortage of health workers is acute and profound, as 16 countries in the region have less than one health worker per 1 000 population, said the WHO Regional office for Africa.
To date, more than 227 million vaccine doses have been administered in Africa. In 39 countries which provided data, about 3.9 million doses have been given to health workers.
"With a new surge in cases looming over Africa following the end-of-year festive season, countries must urgently speed up the rollout of vaccines to health care workers," said Moeti.
The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Africa reached 8,609,413 cases as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Earlier this week, The WHO’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said many vaccinated people were wrongly thinking the jab meant they no longer needed to take any other precautions.
This comes after the global health organisation announced that vaccines reduce transmission of the dominant Delta variant by about 40 percent.
"We're concerned about the false sense of security that vaccines have ended the pandemic and people who are vaccinated do not need to take any other precautions," Tedros told AFP.