The West African region is experiencing a resurgence in coronavirus cases. This is causing grave problems in cemeteries, where the death toll is rising, and in hospitals where there are fewer beds.
These visible shifts are also driving a reluctant population towards the vaccines in greater numbers, at a moment when multiple sources are supplying the vaccines after almost grinding to a halt in recent weeks.
In the last few weeks, thousands of COVID-19 cases were reported in the region. This is despite low vaccination rates and the spread delta variant. Some countries have seen their highest number since the pandemic.
Residents used to be wary of being shot because conspiracy theories were spread online, but now they are lining up in their thousands.
“At the start, there were people who gave false info, but once people saw an increase in contaminations and deaths people realized that only vaccination could save them,” stated Bamba Fall, mayor, Medina municipality, Senegal’s capital Dakar.
Africa’s 54 member countries have fallen behind richer nations in COVID-19 vaccine rollouts due to delays and shortfalls. According to Dr. Matshidiso Moeti (World Health Organization regional director Africa), 82 million vaccines have been delivered to Africa to date. However, that number is only 10% of what is needed to vaccinate 30% by 2021.
Moeti stated that more shipments have begun to arrive, guiding the continent of 1.3bn people into an “encouraging stage after a bleak May.” “There is light at the end the tunnel regarding vaccine deliveries to Africa. But it must not be lost again.”
Nigeria, Africa’s largest country, has more than 210million people. Next month, the government of the African Union will purchase more than 29,000,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines. According to Osagie Ehanire, Health Minister, it is also expected to receive 4 million doses Moderna and nearly 700,000 AstraZeneca vaccinations via the COVAX program, as well as donations from the United States and United Kingdom.
The cumulative number of virus cases in Nigeria has surpassed 172,200. This is an increase of over 4,500 cases from July 10. According to Johns Hopkins University, Nigeria’s cumulative virus case count has more than doubled in the past week. Its daily rolling average of new cases per day for seven days rose from 0.06 per 100,000 people on Jul 15 to 0.17 per 100,000 on July 29.
Director-general of Nigeria Center for Disease Control, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu said that isolation centers that had been closed following a previous surge will be reopened to accommodate a large number patients.
According to the Ministry of Health, the number of confirmed cases in Senegal, a country that had been leading in the fight against the virus’ spread, jumped from 380 on July 10, to 1,700 on the 18th, the highest number since the outbreak.
Dakar’s main cemetary is also seeing large numbers funerals. Many of these were likely to be COVID-19-related but weren’t recorded.
“I came to attend an uncle’s funeral. He died at home. Saliou Ndoye said that although he declined to take the tests out of modesty, everything points to the fact that he died from COVID-19. He had the symptoms. This is a worrying situation. There are many deaths.
Senegal has been focusing more on community campaigns to help residents cope with the loss of loved ones to the disease.
Khalifa Abbacar diop, a resident of Senegal, said that the Senegalese do not know where to go. “We are afraid.”
In the last week, the country received more than 300,000 Johnson & Johnson doses as well as 330,000 of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccination. Tens of thousands of people are still waiting for AstraZeneca. However, it is currently out of stock. New deliveries are not expected until August.
Many West African residents are now being inoculated due to an increase in deaths and hospitalizations.
Harris Fomba Tarnue (principal of the Booker Washington Institute in Liberia), said to The Associated Press that initially I was hesitant about taking the vaccine. He also saw conspiracy theories, and the anti-vaccine media campaign seemed stronger.
Tarnue stated, “But after I thought a lot about taking vaccines in ’60s/’70s and the (beneficial?) impact vaccines now have upon global health, it was a must-take for me and my loved ones.”
Liberia was able to receive 96,000 doses AstraZeneca vaccine via the COVAX initiative. However, the first consignment, which contained approximately 27,000, had a one-month lifespan and expired because people were reluctant to get them. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Francis Kateh stated that Liberia received only about 27,000 doses.
On Sunday, the country received over 300,000 Johnson & Johnson doses. This was just two weeks after running out of AstraZeneca. There were at least 86,000 people awaiting a new dose.
According to the health minister, 9,579 people have been fully vaccinated since March when the country’s vaccine drive began.
Ghana’s President Nana Akufo–Addo raised alarm Sunday when new confirmed infections tripled, pushing hospitals and ICU wards over the edge.
He stated that Ghana cannot afford to let the recklessness of some people endanger the lives and well-being of the majority of Ghanais.
He stated that Ghana has committed to vaccination of 20 million people by the end this year. This is its entire adult population.
He has pledged $25 million for the establishment of an institute that would allow Ghana produce vaccines and not depend on foreign manufacturers. South Africa is the only sub-Saharan African country that can produce the vaccines.