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September 21, 2021

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Vaccine-skeptic countries may fail to achieve Covid herd-immunity

By Paul Dennis

21 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 229,190,000 with more than 4,702,000 deaths reported.

Madagascar has ended a 17-month health state of emergency as daily Covid-19 infections drop to zero.

The move brings several changes to restrictions including lifting of the curfew, and domestic travel and outdoor events being permitted.

A mandatory mask mandate remains in all public spaces and routine international travel to Madagascar remains banned.

The country has officially reported over 42,000 cases and 958 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Due to the weak surveillance system and low testing capacity, this figure is likely to be a considerable underestimate of the true burden.

As a vaccine-skeptic country, Madagascar has only vaccinated 0.3% of the population. Instead, the government has promoted an unproven herbal remedy ‘Covid-Organics’ for the treatment and prevention of Covid-19.

The country must work to increase vaccination coverage and strengthen surveillance infrastructure prior to international travel restrictions being lifted.

Given current vaccination rates, the majority of the population remain susceptible to Covid-19, and the potential remains for another large wave of infection.

Poor governance and vaccine skepticism are reoccurring themes across the Africa region.

In addition to downplaying the risks of Covid-19, the former Tanzanian government has actively spoken out against vaccinations and failed to procure a supply of vaccines.

The new administration has vaccinated just 0.6% of the population.

Tanzania not only face challenges of logistics and distribution, but also a distrust and hesitancy surrounding Covid-19 vaccines amongst the population.

Across the country, cases have been rising in recent weeks, making it ever more critical that the vaccination campaign is successful.

Countries facing these challenges must invest time and resources into combatting vaccine misinformation with targeted public health messaging.

Without this, it is unclear whether they will attain sufficient vaccine uptake to achieve herd immunity.

Tara Patel, MSc, Epidemiologist at GlobalData

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