Reside Information from Afghanistan: Unclear How Many Are Left After Evacuation, Says UK Overseas Secretary | World information
In the first week after the Taliban conquered Kabul, Covid-19 vaccinations in Afghanistan fell by 80%, the UN agency UNICEF said, warning that half of the few doses that have been delivered to the country so far are about to expire stands.
The Taliban took control of the Afghan capital on August 15, having captured most of the country earlier this month after the United States decided to withdraw its forces after 20 years of war.
Since the Taliban’s takeover, “the number of people reached with COVID-19 vaccines has fallen by 80%,” a UNICEF spokesman told Reuters.
In the week starting August 15, 30,500 people were vaccinated in 23 of the country’s 34 provinces, while 134,600 people were vaccinated in 30 provinces in the previous week, according to figures from UNICEF, which is coordinating the introduction of Covid-19 vaccinations, which will be launched by April 15th Covax vaccine program of the World Health Organization (WHO) will be distributed worldwide.
The UNICEF spokesman noted that the UN agency has urged all Afghan health workers, including women, to return to their jobs:
The decline is understandable because in situations of chaos, conflict, and emergencies, people will prioritize their safety first.
The spokesman did not want to comment on whether the decline in vaccinations was also due to the Taliban’s possible vaccination skepticism, but warned of the risks posed by a protracted slowdown in the vaccination campaign.
Almost 2 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine shipped to Afghanistan, about half of the previous total, will expire in November, the UNICEF spokesman said.
WHO data shows that Afghanistan, which has a population of 40 million, only 1.2 million doses were administered as of August 20.
Gavi, who co-directs Covax with WHO, said the program has so far delivered over 4 million doses to Afghanistan.
A Gavi spokesman declined to comment on whether Taliban vaccination has been hindered, telling Reuters:
Our priority today is to work with UNICEF and WHO country offices (..) to ensure we can continue the country’s COVID-19 vaccination program.
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