ANKARA

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday called for more collaboration with communities in order to enhance the uptake of COVID-19 vaccines “once they become available,” as African states gear up for pandemic vaccination.

“The success of any immunization campaign hinges on communities’ trust and acceptance. It is vital that we equip them with the right information, allay any fears and address concerns,” Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, was quoted as saying in a report by WHO Regional Office for Africa.

Moeti said COVID-19 vaccines are expected to be provided first to those who are at the highest risk of infection, including frontline health workers, adults with underlying conditions, and older people.

Meanwhile, another WHO official also urged to stick to preventive measures so far implemented in order to stem the spread of the virus.

“As we are all struggling and getting vaccines, we need to be equally prepared at country level, we need to be ready to receive them but also to roll them out. It is important we do all the preparation for the COVID-19 vaccine deployment,” said Dr Richard Mihigo, WHO Africa program area manager, immunization and vaccine development.

“We need to consider that any additional investment to bring this vaccine to Africa should not be in detriment of other vaccine campaigns. We should address the emergency on the COVID-19 vaccine but keeping in mind other campaigns,” he added.

There are over 2.3 million confirmed COVID-19 cases on the African continent – with more than 1.9 million recoveries and 54,000 deaths, according to WHO.  

*Rodrigue Forku contributed to this story from Yaounde, Cameroon

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