WHO: African health workers still hesitate about vaccines

According to the World Health Organization, the dose of vaccine delivered from Africa to the continent has increased, but only a quarter of health workers have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19

There is a severe shortage of health workers in Africa, and only one country in the region has the recommended number of health workers to provide basic health services.

WHO Regional Director Moeti said that many African health workers, including those working in rural communities, are still “worried about vaccine safety and adverse side effects.”

In Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, only 300,000 (18%) of its 1.6 million health workers have been fully vaccinated.

The WHO said that a recent study also found that only 40% of health workers plan to be vaccinated, while less than 50% want to be vaccinated in Ethiopia.

The president of the National Association of Nurses and Midwives of Nigeria stated that in order to increase the vaccination rate of Nigerian health workers, nurses and midwives need to be more involved in the vaccination process. Michael Nnachi said that with this and through health education, “many people will be persuaded” to get vaccinated. “When nurses are directly involved, we can achieve more.”

Moeti said that only about 7% of the African population has been fully vaccinated, mainly due to delays in vaccine supply and vaccine hesitation. But a few months after obtaining the required supplies, Africa is now seeing “accelerated vaccine supply.”

As more and more vaccines arrive on the African continent, more and more countries are introducing mandatory measures—usually targeting government workers and public places—to increase vaccination rates.

“It’s best to balance persuasion, information sharing, expanding delivery capabilities, strengthening campaigns, and using additional tools to further motivate people to get vaccinated because they need to get the services they need,” Morty said.

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