The Central African Republic risks failing to meet its objective to have 51 percent of adults vaccinated against COVID-19 unless it secures more shots, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) head of delegation in the country told Sputnik.
In an interview with Sputnik last week, the spokesman for the opposition Union for Central African Renewal party’s leader warned that CAR was lagging behind on its vaccinations for lack of a strategy despite sizable foreign donations.
According to the ICRC’s Bruce Biber, the country has secured 700,000 vaccine doses. Some 375,000 of them are those delivered via the global procurement tool COVAX, while the others were obtained via bilateral mechanisms of support. Most of these vaccines will be AstraZeneca shots.
“Just to remind you that the population is about 5 million. So it is still really falling short of the government’s objective to vaccinate at least 51% percent of the population. There is a real need for the country to receive many more vaccines to be able to reach this objective of 51%,” Biber said in an interview.
Like elsewhere, priority groups are going to be health workers, those over 60 and people with underlying diseases.
Prisoners and detainees are yet another group that should not be left behind, the ICRC head of delegation continued.
The Red Cross, he noted, will help the government vaccinate the prison population as part of its broader efforts to ensure that prisoners, including those captured during the years-long conflict with militias in the country, are treated humanely.
The COVID-19 immunization at the same time should not hurdle vaccinations against other dangerous diseases circulating in the region, Biber warned.
“There is a danger that everyone thinks only of covid-19. In this country, there are other weaknesses, other illnesses that are very bad. So we all must make sure that the covid-19 [vaccination] is not done instead of these other vaccinations,” he stated.
So, the ICRC believes that a coronavirus vaccine should be promoted as part of a wider campaign to inoculate the population against all diseases threatening the region.