Collective Service Documentation

HelpAge, UNICEF, The Collective Service

Data for action RCCE for COVID-19 Vaccine Demand in Eastern and Southern Africa


Despite accounting for the lowest proportion of people over 60 years in the world, Africa could triple the number of older people in three decades, surpassing Latin America and Northern America, and approximating that of Europe. Data reveals that COVID-19 case fatality increases exponentially after the age of 60 years, however, there has been a diverse range of national interventions prioritising COVID-19 vaccination which haven’t necessarily improved vaccine coverage amongst older persons (OP).

Key Takeaways
  • Countries with low rates of primary series coverage should first achieve high primary series coverage rates among the higher priority-use groups such as OP, before offering vaccine doses to lower priority-use groups. (SAGE, 2022)
  • The COVID pandemic has revealed real gaps in data on OP, making it more difficult to include them in the response. African countries with more up-to-date statistics have found it easier to address challenges posed by COVID-19.
  • Despite OP being the age group most willing to take COVID-19 vaccines, a large proportion remain unvaccinated or under-vaccinated.
  • Inadequate communication to OP, difficulties with registration processes, challenges accessing vaccination sites and failures to engage and empower them in the design and delivery of responses are the main bottlenecks hampering uptake.
  • Communication with healthcare workers (HCW) can play an important role in OP’s decision to vaccinate. HCW need to be equipped with up-to-date guidance to be able to adequately inform patients about vaccination-related risks and benefits, particularly as OP are more likely to have underlying health conditions and comorbidities therefore more concerns about how vaccines could impact these conditions.

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