Following a World Health Assembly goal to fully vaccinate 10% of every country’s population against COVID-19 by Sept. 30, findings issued Wednesday saw 15 out of Africa‘s 54 nations reach the target, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The small island nations of Mauritius and Seychelles had the highest vaccination rates at over 60%, and Morocco followed at 48%. About 90% of high-income countries across the world have met the 10% goal, the WHO said.
Half of the 52 nations that have received COVID-19 vaccines have fully inoculated 2% or less of their populations.
The global health agency reported that 15 out of the 54 African nations vaccinated at least 10% of their populations.
“The latest data shows modest gains but there is still a long way to go to reach the WHO target of fully vaccinating 40% of the population by the end of the year,” Dr. Richard Mihigo, immunization and vaccines development program coordinator for the WHO Regional Office for Africa, said in a statement. “Shipments are increasing but opaque delivery plans are still the number one nuisance that hold Africa back.”
Countries like South Africa, among eight others, met the goal in early September, while six others hit the target this month due to increasing COVID-19 vaccine deliveries, the global health agency said.
Africa has administered 2% of the over 6 billion vaccines given around the world, and about 60 million Africans have been fully vaccinated. In September, Africa received 23 million COVID-19 vaccines, marking a ten-fold increase from June.
The continent saw a recent 35% decrease in cases, at over 74,000 last week, with nearly 1,800 new deaths reported across 34 nations. The highly transmissible delta variant has been detected in 39 African nations.
“Despite the declining case numbers we must all remain vigilant and continue to adhere to the proven public health and safety measures that we know save lives, such as wearing a mask, washing our hands regularly and physical distancing, especially while vaccination rates remain low,” Mihigo added.