December 2021: COVID-19 campaigns in Africa

Although funding shortfalls, limited access to commodities, and misinformation have hampered Covid-19 campaigns in Africa, countries have been able to draw upon their experience running mass vaccination campaigns for diseases like polio, measles, and Ebola, and use existing campaign infrastructure for their Covid-19 vaccine rollouts. Some highlights of WHO’s Covid-19 African campaign review include:

  • South Sudan: The country is using vaccine accountability tools adapted from its polio campaigns to keep track of how well vaccines are distributed and used at the service delivery level.
  • Liberia: Building on its experience with Ebola, Liberia set up vaccination sites in frequented locations like churches, mosques, banks, and markets.
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo: Established vaccination sites in prisons, military areas, and mining sites.
  • Countries that previously fought Ebola outbreaks or conducted preventative vaccination campaigns already had the capability to store vaccines at extremely cold temperatures—a requirement for the Ebola vaccine and some Covid-19 vaccines.

As of end-December 2021, all but one (Eritrea) of the continent’s 54 nations have launched Covid-19 immunization campaigns, with around 250 million doses given so far. However, this amounts to just 3% of the almost 8 billion doses distributed globally, and only around 8% of Africans are fully vaccinated. WHO AFRO

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