Last December 2, the U.S. Embassy in Cameroon announced Washington’s decision to provide an additional US$2.9 million (XAF1.7 billion) funding to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to strengthen the fight against Covid-19 in Cameroon.
“Given the issue of vaccine hesitancy and the need to rapidly increase vaccine uptake for the Cameroonian population, more than 50 percent of ARP funding is allocated to addressing vaccine misinformation and disinformation and to stimulate COVID-19 vaccine demand,” the U.S. diplomatic representation explained in a release.
"We are proud to provide this additional assistance which will help the Cameroonian population access life-saving COVID-19 vaccines. We encourage all Cameroonians to take the COVID-19 vaccines, which are safe, effective, and the best way to protect your family, friends, communities, and loved ones," commented Mary Daschbach, the U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires, as quoted by the release.
The additional assistance is part of the Biden administration's commitment to accelerate prevention, preparedness, comprehensive and equitable response to Covid-19 in the United States and around the world, we learn.
It complements over US$5 million (XAF2.9 billion) in Covid-19 assistance provided to Cameroon by the United States since the beginning of the pandemic. Cameroon is one of the sub-Saharan African countries most affected by Covid-19, with more than 107,000 positive cases, including 1,795 deaths. Despite sufficient vaccine availability, the population is still reluctant to get vaccinated.
This reluctance is partly due to misinformation and anti-vaccine campaigns on social media, according to the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI). According to the Minister of Public Health (Minsanté), Manaouda Malachie, 4.1% of the target population is fully vaccinated. The figure is far below the 10% target set by the government, which is multiplying strategies to encourage the population to get vaccinated less than one month to the 2021 African Cup of Nations.