Kabul: Following reports that Afghanistan has exhausted its existing stock of COVID-19 vaccines—with doses promised by the WHO delayed until August—and an estimated 740% increase in reported cases since May 1, Save the Children organization is calling for urgent attention and vaccines from the international community to protect Afghan children from the impacts of the third wave of COVID-19.
Athena Rayburn, Director of Advocacy and Communications at Save the Children in Afghanistan, said, “Afghanistan is experiencing the third wave of COVID-19 at a time when the country is already struggling with increasing conflict and a drought that is increasing an already devastating hunger crisis. While many wealthy countries are reaching 50-60 percent full vaccination rates for adults, countries like Afghanistan have once again been left behind—and it is children who are paying the price. Afghanistan has now exhausted its existing vaccine stock, which numbered less than one million doses. Less than one percent of the population have been fully vaccinated. In late May, just six weeks after schools reopened in early March, the government announced again the closure of schools in provinces across the country to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. This will have a serious impact on the country’s children, whose learning has already been disrupted by years of war.”
The warning comes even as the Ministry of Public Health on Thursday reported 1,822 new positive cases of COVID-19 and 56 deaths in the last 24 hours. As per the ministry at least 409 people recovered and the total number of recovered patients is now 59,000. The death toll in the country now stands at 3,412 and total positive cases is 87,716.
“Save the Children estimates that children in Afghanistan have already lost up to 13 percent of their lifetime schooling, with figures even higher for girls at almost 21 percent. With recent school closures and this latest surge in cases, that number is likely to grow, with many children unlikely to return to school at all. Remote learning opportunities are extremely limited in Afghanistan, where many children have little to no access to internet or technology that would enable them to learn while schools are closed,” Rayburn added.
The organization has sought the international community to protect the most vulnerable children from bearing the brunt of this pandemic and provide vaccines urgently to Afghanistan.
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