Threat of COVID-19 third wave in Africa rising – WHO

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has described the threat of a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the African region ‘as real and rising’.

It therefore urged countries to brace up and strengthen their health systems by investing in critical care capacities, which will pay dividends for the COVID-19 response.

It further expressed concern that the gap between COVID-19 vaccinations globally and on the African continent is increasing, despite the best efforts of African countries, because of vaccine inequity.

The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, made these known during a press briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic and treatment in Africa.

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She said: “The threat of a third wave in Africa is real and rising. Vaccines are key to staving off a new surge and keeping the most vulnerable Africans out of critical care. Vaccines are a gift that we will keep on giving.

“Nearly 20 African countries have now used more than two-thirds of the doses they have received, and many of these countries are ready, willing and able to rapidly roll out more.

“As we are expecting a surge, it is important to strengthen health systems now to save lives. Public health measures remain important to prevent infections that can later become hospitalizations.

On China’s Sinovac vaccine, the organization noted that aside from having easy storage requirements, the vaccine has an efficacy of preventing symptomatic disease in 51 percent of those vaccinated, and prevented severe COVID-19 and hospitalization in 100 percent of the studied population.

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