About half the vaccines Cameroon acquired in April are yet to be administered, as of July 19, 2021, only 316,445 persons had a jab, according to statistics from the Enlarged Programme of Immunization, EPI.
Antonio Pedro, Economic Commission for Africa, ECA Director for Central Africa has urged Cameroonians to acquire and administer vaccines as a sure way to end the double threat covid-19 is imposing on health and the economy.
Pedro made the plea as Cameroon through the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health, Louis Njock received the first consignment of 158,400 doses of Johnson & Johnson.
ECA, AFRIMBANK and Africa CDC procured the vaccines for Cameroon and more are to follow as Cameroon intends to acquire up to 5million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
The procurement is the fruit of months of long negotiations. “For months we’ve been meeting with African Ministers of Finance, Economy, Health and other stakeholders to underscore the importance of facilitating access to vaccines to end global vaccine inequality,” said ECA’s Director for Central Africa.
At the Nsimalen Airport on August 8 when the vaccines arrived, ECA boss said, “This calls for celebration as we’ve reached a milestone in the acquisition of vaccines manufactured in Africa [South Africa] for Africans!”
“This symbolizes Cameroon’s resolve to move towards herd immunity”, Pedro said congratulating Cameroon on being at the fore of the initiative.
The latest acquisition has has brought the total of vaccine doses in Cameroon to 1,052,650 Sinopharm, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson.
The procurement follows donation of 303,050 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines by the United States.
Africa has the least access to vaccines in the world and vaccination is still pegged at 2 percent, 1.25 percent in Cameroon.
The continent has received slightly more than 103 million doses of vaccines but vaccinated only 24 million people, (1.7 percent ) and would need about 183 doses to vaccinate 10 percent of the population in September, 2021.
South African president Cyril Ramaphosa- Vaccine Champion announced the shipment of vaccines to Africa by August 5 through AVAT,AU / African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) in collaboration with the Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP).
On the above premise, a total of 6.4m doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is being shipped across Africa this August. The figure is expected to have reached 50 million by the end of the 2021. By January 2022 supplies will be ramped up to surpass 25 million per month.
But, the vaccination up take remains low as misinformation and misconception are fueling hesitancy.
As of July 19, only 316,455 persons had taken a jab and even worse, only 48,999 had taken their second dose.
Being a single dose vaccine, Johnson & Johnson may be the answer to disappearance observed after the first dose for vaccine like AstraZeneca and Sinopharm.
According to Prof. Wilfred Mbacham those who do not take the second jab are not protected and are as exposed to the virus as those who have not had a jab.