The World Health Organization Africa regional director Matshidiso Moeti said it is very unlikely for most countries in Africa, including Nigeria, to reach 40 per cent vaccination coverage by the end of 2021.
“At this rate, the continent may only reach the 40 per cent target by the end of March 2022,” said Moeti.
In September, the World Bank’s International Development Association allocated a $400 million credit to speed up Nigeria’s Covid vaccination programme. Yet, fewer than 1.5 per cent of the country’s 206 million population has been fully vaccinated.
Prof Isa Abubakar Sadiq, Director of the Centre for Infectious Diseases Bayero University Kano, said the problem could come from the vaccine availability in Nigeria.
“The number of vaccines available in the country will not be enough for all those who would come forward,” said Prof Sadiq.
“If we are to achieve the target, we need more doses to be available, and people need to be mobilised to come forward and take the vaccine. Not enough people are coming forward to even take the available vaccines. People are not taking the disease seriously because the severity is not as projected. The risk perception is not as it should be.”
Six in seven cases go undetected in Africa, according to the WHO. Nigeria itself has conducted only 15.8 tests per 1,000. But with the number of malaria fatalities surpassing COVID-19 deaths in Nigeria, health experts believe the issue is further down the list of concerns for the Federal Government.