(Bloomberg) -- World Health Organization officials met earlier on Thursday to discuss a new coronavirus variant circulating in South Africa and Botswana, the body’s Africa director said.

The new B.1.1.529 variant shows a high number of mutations, Matshidiso Moeti said in an online briefing on Thursday. She spoke after the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said it will meet South African officials next week to discuss a new variant in the country. 

Read: Africa CDC Plans Talks on New Covid Variant in South Africa

The discovery of the variant shows the need to increase vaccinations against Covid-19 on the continent, Moeti said.

Recent studies showed low vaccination rates among health workers in 25 African nations, partly because of a lack of shots and hesitancy, she said. Concerns about vaccine safety and adverse side effects have been identified as the main reasons for people being reluctant to get vaccinated, she said.



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