Morocco is among the African countries that have already reached the global immunization target set in May by the World Health Assembly of vaccinating 10% of the most vulnerable groups against COVID-19 by the end of September, the WHO regional office for Africa said Thursday.

“Nine African countries, including South Africa, Morocco, and Tunisia, have already reached the global immunization target set in May by the World Health Assembly, the highest decision-making body of the WHO. At the current rate, three other African countries are on track to meet the immunization goal. Two others could reach the target if they increase the pace of immunization,” the WHO Africa office said on its website.

According to data collected by the WHO, 42 of 54 countries in Africa – nearly 80 percent of the total – are at risk of not meeting the COVID-19 vaccination target if the current pace of vaccine shipments and vaccination continues.

“Vaccine hoarding has set Africa back and we urgently need more vaccines,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s Africa regional director.

She added that “as more doses arrive, African countries must step up their efforts and ensure that explicit plans are in place to ensure that the millions of people who still face the serious threat of COVID-19 are vaccinated without delay”.

According to the WHO, nearly 21 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Africa during August through the COVAX mechanism, as many as the continent received in the previous four months.

“Taking into account the vaccines expected to be delivered by COVAX and the African Union by the end of September, Africa could receive enough doses to reach the 10% target,” said the WHO regional office.