The World Health Organisation Director, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus has said that the African continent has the lowest vaccination coverage at just two percent.

This was part of his opening remarks on Sunday at the G20 Health Ministers Meeting in Rome, Italy, where he said many countries continue to face steady increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths.

He mentioned that even though more than 5 billion vaccines have been administered worldwide, almost 75 percent of those doses have been administered in just 10 countries.

According to the director, the WHO’s global target is to support every country and ensure that at least 10% of every country’s population is vaccinated by the end of September, and 70 percent of the world’s population by the middle of next year.

He said, “When we met virtually in Riyadh last year, we all hoped that by now the pandemic would be under control. But the opposite is true. Many countries continue to face steep increases in cases and deaths, despite the fact that more than 5 billion vaccines have now been administered worldwide.

“But almost 75 percent of those doses have been administered in just 10 countries. Africa has the lowest vaccination coverage at 2%. This is unacceptable.”

He further stated that the continent can do better and intensify vaccination participation in respective countries. He added that the commitment and support of G20 countries will go a long way to achieving the set objectives with regards to increase in the vaccinated population around the world.

“We can still reach these targets, but only with the commitment and support of G20 countries. As the largest producers, consumers and donors of COVID-19 vaccines, you hold the key to achieving vaccine equity and ending the pandemic.”

“We can never allow a pandemic on this scale to happen again. As you know, there have been several reports and reviews of the global response to the pandemic, including the report of the G20 High-Level Panel,” Ghebreyesus said.

Health Ministers were urged to support the achievement of WHO’s global vaccination targets, by swapping near-term delivery schedules with COVAX and fulfilling the dose-sharing pledges by the end of this month at the latest. In addition, facilitate the sharing of technology, know-how and intellectual property to support regional vaccine manufacturing.

On the sidelines of the meeting on Sunday, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said Germany was planning to donate 100 million COVID vaccine doses before the end of the year to international inoculation campaigns.

Lastly, the WHO Director called on health ministers to strengthen WHO by supporting initiatives that strengthen, not weaken, its mandate, and by committing to a historic reversal of the current imbalance between assessed and voluntary contributions.