ETHIOPIA – The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has announced that the agency is hosting a continental workshop for managers in the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) from 6th September to 8th September 2022 at the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa.

The agency announced on its website that the continental workshop will gather delegates particularly National Managers of COVID-19 Vaccination programmes and National EPI Managers representing all 55 Member States of the African Union (AU) and partners.

The Africa CDC, through the Saving Lives and Livelihoods programme in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, is organizing a workshop aimed at accelerating the scale-up of COVID-19 vaccination with a focus on achieving 100 per cent coverage among high-risk groups.

The Africa CDC has partnered with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and other key stakeholders to organize the regional workshop that is expected to bring together national EPI managers and relevant stakeholders.

The continental public health agency of the AU outlined that the ambitious goal of the event is to track progress towards achieving the 70 per cent vaccination target by the end of 2022 while reaching most vulnerable groups and strengthening countries’ health systems and routine immunization.

According to UNICEF and WHO, the pandemic has grossly set back childhood immunization on the continent. Nearly 12 million children in Africa have missed out on vaccination in 2021 and were made vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases.

The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC)


The agency further said that the workshop will provide an opportunity for learning best practices and sharing experiences among Member States with the support of experts from Africa CDC, UNICEF, WHO and other partners.

In addition, the event will identify opportunities for continental change of policy and strategies to accelerate the scale-up of COVID-19 vaccination with a focus on achieving 100 per cent coverage among high-risk groups as well as to recover pre-pandemic routine immunization coverage.

The meeting will provide a unique platform for delegates to take stock of the progress on COVID-19 vaccination, share experiences to overcome critical bottlenecks towards 70 per cent coverage by the end of 2022 while strengthening countries’ health systems and routine immunization.

Africa CDC explained that essential immunization service coverage dropped in all AU regions between 2019 and 2021 due to the combination of pandemic’s associated disruptions and strained health systems, noting that it is the largest backslide in childhood vaccinations in decades.

Despite recent progress in global COVID-19 vaccine coverage, Africa continues to report the lowest COVID-19 vaccination uptake with 22.1 per cent of people fully vaccinated compared to other regions globally.

Africa CDC noted that in most African countries where data is available, the COVID-19 vaccination coverage among the high-priority population including health workers, elderly people, adults and children with co-morbidities remains low.

According to Africa CDC, AU Member States are facing various challenges to rolling out COVID-19 vaccination including the limited health workforce to implement accelerated vaccination strategies within an already strained health system.

Other barriers facing many countries as they work to administer shots into arms include the low uptake of vaccination particularly among the most vulnerable groups due to a low risk-perception about the disease in most communities as hospitalizations and deaths plummeted.

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