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COVID remains a threat due to low vaccination, says Africa CDC

The head of the Africa CDC was asked if he agreed with the WHO that the end of the COVD-19 pandemic was in sight.

The COVID-19 pandemic remains a threat in Africa given low vaccination rates, said the acting director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

“The virus continues to circulate and with low vaccination rates, the pandemic is still with us here on the continent,” Ahmed Ogwell Ouma told a news conference on Thursday.

He was responding to a question about whether he agreed with the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who said that the end of the COVID pandemic was now in sight.

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“We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic,” the WHO chief told reporters at a virtual news conference on Wednesday. “We are not there yet, but the end is in sight.”

The Africa CDC director said just over 22 percent of Africa’s population was fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and his agency would continue to push to increase that number. “The levels of protection are still relatively low,” he told reporters.

African countries struggled to secure early supplies of COVID vaccines as wealthy nations stockpiled doses and, more recently, hesitation and logistical problems have made it difficult to inject into weapons.

Ouma said the Africa CDC was focusing on fully vaccinating as many people on the continent as possible, not acquiring new vaccines targeting specific variants like Omicron.

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