SNAP ANALYSIS DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO ACHIEVES COVID COVERAGE MILESTONE
Geneva, 14 March 2023 – The Democratic Republic of Congo has crossed the 10% primary series COVID-19 vaccine coverage milestone, a significant achievement in a populous country where coverage one year ago stood at below 1%, and where the health system is handling multiple priorities including Ebola, cholera and measles.
In January 2022, DRC was one of the 34 COVAX AMC-supported countries whose coverage stood below 10%. Today, with concerted support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, UNICEF and WHO through the COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership, only 6 countries remain below 10% – with Cameroon, Mali and Gabon amongst the latest to cross this milestone.
DRC’s vaccination efforts began in 2021, and was met with several challenges including misinformation, limited data, delivery financing, and product choice. The Ministry of Public Health, Hygiene and Prevention has mitigated these barriers by leveraging community-level information-sharing led by community leaders, as well as leading in mobilisation of resources to address funding gaps and invest in better data systems – supported by Gavi and COVAX through the provision of 17.8 million COVID-19 vaccine doses and delivery funding.
Dr. Derrick Sim, Acting Managing Director of the COVAX Facility, the global effort to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines – comments:
“We are encouraged by DRC’s progress and celebrate the continued commitment shown by government and partners to protect people against COVID-19. This achievement demonstrates that countries dealing with multiple priorities and complex challenges can successfully push coverage forward to achieve vital immunization goals.
With more than 4.8 million new cases and 39,000 deaths reported just last month, and the virus constantly evolving with 7 omicron subvariants currently under observation by WHO, we must remember that COVID-19 is not over. We must continue to prioritize vaccination, especially of the most vulnerable. Vaccines remain our best tool against severe disease, hospitalization, and death – protecting people and ensuring health systems are able to handle other priorities.”
Average primary series coverage across 92 AMC-supported countries and territories currently stands at 54%. In 2023, COVAX will continue to support countries, including the 6 countries which remain under 10% primary coverage, to hit their vaccination targets, particularly the protection of high-risk groups, while working to integrate COVID-19 with routine immunization and further support strengthened and resilient health systems. With 100% country demand met to-date, COVAX has access to the doses to continue to support vaccination efforts.
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Notes for editors
Dr Derrick Sim is a medical doctor and global expert in building healthy vaccine markets to ensure access in lower-income countries. Read more about Dr Sim here.
Gavi leads procurement and delivery at scale for COVAX, a partnership between Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), WHO and UNICEF that is aimed at ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
So far COVAX has delivered more than 1.9 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to 146 countries around the world. In addition, COVAX has provided more than US$1.5 billion to help lower-income countries turn vaccines into vaccinations.
In Jan 2022, Gavi, WHO and UNICEF set up the COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership to provide targeted support to the countries furthest behind – helping reduce the number of countries under 10% coverage from 34 countries to 6. Some, like Somalia, Ethiopia, Central African Republic, Tanzania and Cote d’Ivoire, have made incredible progress – pushing coverage rates to 30% and beyond.
Gavi has been supporting routine immunization in lower-income countries and global outbreak response since 2000. The Alliance has introduced more than 560 new vaccines and immunized more than 1 billion additional unique children – helping halve childhood mortality in Gavi-supported countries. Find out more about this work here.
For expert insights and original content and stories from around the world, visit Gavi’s online digital platform VaccinesWork.
Notes to editors
About Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance
Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is a public-private partnership that helps vaccinate half the world’s children against some of the world’s deadliest diseases. Since its inception in 2000, Gavi has helped to immunise a whole generation – over 981 million children – and prevented more than 16.2 million future deaths, helping to halve child mortality in 73 lower-income countries. Gavi also plays a key role in improving global health security by supporting health systems as well as funding global stockpiles for Ebola, cholera, meningococcal and yellow fever vaccines. After two decades of progress, Gavi is now focused on protecting the next generation, above all the zero-dose children who have not received even a single vaccine shot. The Vaccine Alliance employs innovative finance and the latest technology – from drones to biometrics – to save millions more lives, prevent outbreaks before they can spread and help countries on the road to self-sufficiency. Learn more at www.gavi.org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.
Gavi is a co-convener of COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, together with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. In its role, Gavi is focused on procurement and delivery for COVAX: coordinating the design, implementation and administration of the COVAX Facility and the Gavi COVAX AMC and working with its Alliance partners UNICEF and WHO, along with governments, on country readiness and delivery.
The Vaccine Alliance brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry, technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private sector partners. View the full list of donor governments and other leading organisations that fund Gavi’s work here.