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Congo: World Bank grants $12.5M towards COVID-19 vaccination efforts

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Republic of the Congo

The World Bank has approved that 12.5 million US dollars be granted to the Republic of Congo in order to acquire COVID-19 vaccines and reinforce the awareness of the benefits of its vaccination campaign.

Perhaps good news for the central African nation whose coronavirus epicentre is in Pointe Noire, as its vaccine rollout had been hindered by a lack of second doses and health worker burnout.

Vaccination agents are subject to social and logistical constraints which further complicates campaign efforts.

Saint Médard Gauhy, the head of the rapid response COVID-19 team, shares his observations on the ground.

"Public awareness efforts could work for a month, two months, but that is part of the difficulties we have. The government has provided the means, but it is not enough to achieve the objective.

Dr Ndonggui Kibalou Dany, the supervisor of the vaccination site in Pointe Noire, goes over the steps taken in recent months.

"There were awareness measures that were put in place with the campaign agents that were dispatched in the arteries of the city, and this seemed to bear fruit in the first days because we went from the decreasing curve to the increasing curve.

" But now there are fewer and fewer people coming to be vaccinated, as you will notice, and the difficulty we have is with the second doses of Sputnik. For some time we have not had enough doses at our site. "

Since April 24, when vaccination operations kicked off, about 100,000 people have been vaccinated out of the 3,000,000 people the health authorities are targeting to achieve herd immunity.

Africanews special correspondent in the Congo, Cédric Lyonnel Sehossolo, summarized the current state of affairs.

"A vaccine that still has difficulty being accepted by some of the Congolese, still influenced by preconceived notions.

Indeed, as a few locals he interviewed share words that reflect this very sentiment.

"If the vaccine is made here in the Congo, we are ready to take it, compared to what is brought to us here," one man says decidedly.

"I learned that the vaccine makes you sick, so I don't want to be vaccinated," a woman says with fear in her eyes.

This most recent World Bank financial aid comes after the one issued in 2020, estimated at 11 million US dollars.

As of July 1, the Congo reports 12,596 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 165 deaths.

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