Sumary of WHO: Vaccine hesitancy persists among Africa health workers:
- ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Africa is seeing a rise in deliveries of vaccine doses to the continent, but only one in four of its health workers has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the World Health Organization regional office said on Thursday.
- The most common reasons for the low vaccination rate among health workers on the continent of about 1.3 billion people include vaccine hesitancy and the unavailability of vaccine services, especially in rural areas, Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s Africa director, told an online press briefing.
- It’s a striking contrast to the more developed countries where more than 80% of health and care workers in 22 mostly high-income countries have been fully vaccinated, according to a recent WHO study.
- The low vaccination rate among health workers in Africa “puts at risk not only their own health and well-being but also that of the patients that they look after,” Moeti warned, calling on African countries to “urgently speed up the rollout of vaccines to those on the frontlines.
- ”Africa has an acute shortage of health workers, with only one country in the region having the recommended number of health workers to provide essential health services.
- “Any loss of these essential workers to COVID-19 due to illness or death therefore heavily impacts on service provision capacity,” WHO’s Nigeria office said in a statement.
- Many of Africa’s health workers, including those working in rural communities, still have “concerns over vaccine safety and adverse side effects,” the WHO regional director Moeti said.