No, Covid vaccination in Africa not just 6%, as tweet claims – uptake improving


Graphic by Prachatai via Flickr

A tweet that claims only 6% of the African population is vaccinated against Covid is false. The actual figure, according to the World Health Organisation, is 21%.

Africa Check researcher Geruza Bumba reviews the evidence, cross-posted from Africa Check.


World leaders aimed to vaccinate “at least 10% of the population of every country” against Covid by September 2021. But several media outlets have reported that the African continent, with more than 1,4 billion people, has missed the target.

A tweet blurred out from a popular social media account with over 94K followers. Image: Africa Check

But is the vaccination rate in Africa as low as 6%? That’s the claim in a November 2022 tweet circulating in South Africa.

“Africa is only 6% vaccinated and covid-19 has practically disappeared,” it reads. It adds: “Scientists ‘baffled’.”

We looked into the numbers.

Over 20% of Africa’s population fully vaccinated

An October 2022 peer-reviewed article in The Lancet, a medical journal, says vaccine uptake on the continent is low. The researchers call for a rework of the universal Covid vaccination strategy currently used in West and Central Africa.

Only seven countries in Africa have recorded Covid vaccination rates of above 40% for their population. But the World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that by March 2022, the continent had fully vaccinated 15% of its adult population.

By July 2022, the figure had increased to 21.1%.

“This uptick in vaccination coverage shows that African countries remain committed to COVID-19 vaccination,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s regional director for Africa.

“This is encouraging because vaccination remains the most effective tool in our response to COVID-19 on the continent.”

WHO records over 647 million confirmed cases of Covid worldwide

What of claims that the Covid virus has “disappeared” from Africa?

The WHO coronavirus situation dashboard publishes official daily counts of Covid cases and deaths worldwide. The count on 16 December 2022 was 647,972,911 confirmed cases of Covid, including 6,642,832 deaths, reported to the WHO.

As the dashboard shows, 9,429,464 of the confirmed cases of Covid are from Africa, with new cases reported every day.

  • This article was written by Geruza Bumba, Africa Check on 19 December 2022 and is republished from Africa Check under a Creative Commons license.

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