Last week, Burkina Faso surpassed the 10 per cent COVID-19 vaccination milestone (of total population, fully vaccinated), a noteworthy step in the protection of lives and towards ending vaccine inequity.
Despite competing health priorities, Burkina Faso working together with stakeholders and partners including COVAX has made efforts to rollout strategies to drive vaccine demand with uptake growing in recent weeks.
COVAX is the major supplier of COVID-19 vaccines to Burkina Faso and has delivered over 7.1 million doses of vaccines as of September 8th enabling the country to vaccinate over 62 % of the elderly population.
The country’s vaccination efforts have been driven by several strategies undertaken in partnership with stakeholders such as assigning dedicated teams to raise awareness among elderly citizens.
Other innovative strategies by the country include a collaboration led by the Johns Hopkins Centre for Communication Programs which implemented an awareness campaign with the reggae singer Sana Bob to reach out to communities with the right information on vaccination.
Stakeholders have also been using every gathering opportunity such as cycling competitions and routine checkup campaign to encourage retirees to consider vaccination.
This enabled the country to get past common challenges such as proliferation of rumours and inadequate communication.
These interventions have improved vaccination uptake; a recent campaign saw the health authorities reach approximately 500,000 people in a single week.
Dr. Richard Mihigo, Director of COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery, Coordination and Integration at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which leads on procurement and delivery at scale for COVAX, comments on this milestone:
“By vaccinating over 10 per cent of its population with two doses of COVID-19 vaccines, Burkina Faso is making significant progress given the country’s competing health priorities in the country and the fact that the health system is already stretched thin.
Among the country’s most significant achievements has been the development of a successful, replicable model for improving access to information and countering the proliferation of rumours, which has affected vaccination rollout in the country.
COVAX has enough supply available to ensure Burkina Faso is able to meet its national vaccination target and through the COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership, Gavi and its partners will continue to focus resources and efforts on countries where delivery bottlenecks persist.
We congratulate the country for the commitment to further and look forward to continue working together to further curb vaccine inequity.”