The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said its urgent support helped to avert COVID-19 vaccines expiry in Africa.
The Africa CDC, in a statement issued Thursday, said following the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the African continent instantly embarked on a large-scale vaccination drive to ensure that the population is protected against this harmful virus.
“The COVID-19 vaccines rollout remains the biggest, most rapid and most complex continental drive in history,” the Africa Union (AU)’s specialized health care agency said.
It said the Africa CDC’s commitment to safeguarding the continent’s health was greatly demonstrated in the vaccine rollout processes as it provided leadership in ensuring fair, equitable and timely allocation of COVID-19 vaccines in Africa.
The Africa CDC said one major intervention was the urgent need to accelerate the vaccination programs in several AU member states, whose doses of vaccines were due to expire within a month.
It said the urgent support interventions were extended to support member states that reported adverse events following immunization and very low COVID-19 vaccination coverage.
The first African countries to benefit from the support included Cameroon, Namibia, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Lesotho, Morocco, Tanzania and Zambia, the Africa CDC said.
It said the urgent support to prevent and reduce COVID-19 vaccines expiry and demand creation led to the setup of new COVID-19 vaccination centers (CVCs) and the strengthening of existing CVCs for increased access to vaccination sites by the population.
The Africa CDC said logistics of supplying vaccinations from the central cold rooms to the centers, including the ancillaries needed to support their functioning, was also established.
It said targeted risk communication and community engagement in generating demand among the populace, including countering negative perceptions of the vaccine, greatly contributed to the accomplishment of the program.
It said most activities hit the target or above including vaccine delivery, vaccine ancillary supplies, setting up of new CVCs and deployment of trained vaccinators. In some countries, the support translated to the strengthening and creation of new vaccination sites bringing services closer to the communities.