Muhammed Olanrewaju Afolabi, Oghenebrume Wariri, Yauba Saidu, Akaninyene Otu, Semeeh Akinwale Omoleke, Bassey Ebenso, Adekola Adebiyi, Michael Ooko, Bright Opoku Ahinkorah, Edward Kwabena Ameyaw, Abdul-Aziz Seidu, Emmanuel Agogo, Terna Nomhwange, Kolawole Salami, Nuredin Ibrahim Mohammed, Sanni Yaya
The African Union Bureau of Heads of State and Government endorsed the COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Access Strategy to vaccinate at least 60% of each country’s population with a safe and efficacious vaccine by 2022, to achieve the population-level immunity needed to bring the pandemic under control. Using publicly available, country-level population estimates and COVID-19 vaccination data, we provide unique insights into the uptake trends of COVID-19 vaccinations in the 15 countries that comprise the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS). Based on the vaccination rates in the ECOWAS region after three months of commencing COVID-19 vaccinations, we provide a projection of the trajectory and speed of vaccination needed to achieve a COVID-19 vaccination coverage rate of at least 60% of the total ECOWAS population. After three months of the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines across the ECOWAS countries, only 0.27% of the region’s total population had been fully vaccinated. If ECOWAS countries follow this trajectory, the sub-region will have less than 1.6% of the total population fully vaccinated after 18 months of vaccine deployment. Our projection shows that to achieve a COVID-19 vaccination coverage of at least 60% of the total population in the ECOWAS sub-region after 9, 12 and 18 months of vaccine deployment; the speed of vaccination must be increased to 10, 7 and 4 times the current trajectory, respectively. West African governments must deploy contextually relevant and culturally acceptable strategies for COVID-19 vaccine procurements, distributions and implementations in order to achieve reasonable coverage and save lives, sooner rather than later.