COVID Vaccination still lagging in Congo

COVID vaccination efforts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are significantly behind, with only 0.87 percent of the population receiving a single dose. Despite receiving 8.2 million vaccine doses, only 528,000 have been administered, accounting for less than 11 percent. The country faced challenges with distribution, resulting in the return of 1.3 million vaccines. However, organizations like CARE are collaborating with immunization sites to engage communities, improve facility management, and provide training, leading to progress in vaccination rates.

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The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is among the world's lowest COVID-19 immunization rates, with only 0.87 percent of the population receiving even one dose. While the country got 8.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, it only managed to give 528,000 of them, accounting for little under 11 percent of the total available vaccines. DRC was one among the first nations to refund 1.3 million COVID-19 shots to COVAX in April 2021, owing to their inability to distribute everything to people before the vaccines expiration.


Most of the country is still dealing with the issues that resulted in over a million doses expiring. 114,705 vaccinations expired in the country in January and February 2022 due to a lack of investment in infrastructure and health professionals to provide immunizations. COVID-19 immunization will need to be scaled up and accelerated in the DRC to cover 70% of the population, or 62.7 million people.

CARE is collaborating with four immunization sites—two in Butembo and two in Goma—to help with community engagement, health facility management, and training. Those sites have vaccinated 1,132 individuals thanks to cooperative action and communication strategies devised with chiefs, religious leaders, and local authorities, as well as additional equipment to safeguard health workers.

We also performed many rounds of research and problem-solving at those four sites, utilizing community dialogues between health professionals and clients, and the Community Scorecard and Social Analysis and Action instruments, to give the insights for this case study. Local vaccination teams have also benefited from the team's assistance with IT infrastructure, labor expenses, and the creation of locally tailored COVID-19 messaging programs.

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