In Africa, a Mix of Shots Drives an Uncertain Covid Vaccination Push
But in most African countries, there is too little of everything – vaccines,
All the equipment and trained people needed to administer them – to imagine a massive booster campaign now. At the vaccine headquarters in Kamakwi, healthcare workers are just trying to figure out how to make the most of the supplies they have been given. The Department of Health, for example, has never instructed healthcare professionals to give Pfizer to teenagers or Johnson & Johnson to teachers, said Health Secretary Dr. Dembi. Instead, the community itself came up with this patchwork rubric. Many local officials are hesitant to try to stimulate demand without knowing what vaccines they will receive and when he said.
On a recent Tuesday,
The vaccination team set off with a small Styrofoam cooler with their hodgepodge of vaccines to the village of Katanta Yimbo, about 40 minutes away on a rough dirt road. The advance group rode on a motorcycle and on a megaphone, urging everyone who has a vaccination card to come to the central square. About 40 people came, but most of the cards indicated that they already had two injections of Sinopharm. They were sent away without offering boosters. Some people had one AstraZeneca vaccine but it was delivered last June, so the second injection they had that day was about six months later than the recommended interval of eight to twelve weeks.
Rugiatu Dumbua, 35, who was selling fried cakes at the market,
Came to see what the hype was about and decided to get her first vaccine since the shots were right there. She heard about Covid on a news DVD her friend bought in town and recently played at the market. “I’ve seen people die from Covid sometimes, so I’ll take it, although I’m not sure what it will do to me,” she said shortly before she was injected with the Pfizer vaccine from the vial the team had brought.
Mr. Conteh gave her a blue card with a record of her first vaccination and sent her on her way. No one discussed when—and if—she might get a second.
Noah Weiland, Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Monika Pronchuk as well as Apoorva Mandavilli made a report.