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Yemi Alade named COVID-19 campaign ambassador, urges vaccination in Africa

Nigerian Afropop star Yemi Alade has been announced global ambassador for The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ahead for “It’s Up to Us” – a pan African campaign driven by the Africa CDC and Mastercard Foundation (

Featured image credits via APO Group for The Mastercard Foundation.

The campaign encourages Africans to unite and get vaccinated against COVID-19. The announcement was marked by the release of a campaign video featuring the singer.

It’s Up to Us comes at a critical time in Africa’s fight against COVID-19. The continent continues to bear the brunt of global vaccine inequity, with cases and deaths rising quickly across the continent. To date, less than 12 percent of the continent has been fully vaccinated against the virus. The AVAT, African Union, and Africa CDC, with the support of partners like the Mastercard Foundation, have made significant strides in securing vaccines. Ensuring vaccine adoption is the next step towards increasing vaccine coverage on the continent. Given that nearly 60 percent of Africans are under the age of 25, targeting young people is key to ensuring Africa reaches its goal of vaccinating 70 percent of its population by the end of 2022.

“COVID-19 vaccine acceptance is important to achieving herd immunity and safeguarding citizens in Africa and globally against the virus and its variants. That’s why Africa CDC and the Mastercard Foundation are joining efforts in ensuring access to vaccines for Africa,” said Dr. John Nkenagsong, Director of the Africa CDC.

Vaccines remain critical for providing protection against the virus, massively reducing the chances of serious illness, hospitalization and death. COVID-19 vaccines protect everyone—including public health workers—and enable economies to recover.

Since COVID-19 began, the Mastercard Foundation has been working to ensure communities across Africa access accurate information about how to protect themselves. “Vaccines remain critical for saving lives and livelihoods. But, misinformation spreads fast, so we need to be smarter and more creative to spread the right information faster. People make the right choices to protect themselves and their families when they have the facts,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation.

Yemi is no stranger to the global vaccine conversation. For over a year, she has been vocal about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, the importance of vaccine equality, and the need to dispel myths around COVID-19 and vaccines—particularly in Africa. Yemi’s involvement aims to remind Africans of the power they have to make change in their communities, and in the lives of their friends and families, by getting vaccinated.

COVID-19 vaccine acceptance is important to achieving herd immunity and safeguarding citizens in Africa and globally against the virus and its variants
“I’m delighted to be a part of #ItsUptoUs, a movement that encourages Africans to take up the responsibility in making the world safe again,” Yemi remarked. “I’m happy to lend my voice to this important issue and moment.”

In addition to the video released today, Yemi is releasing a campaign Unity Anthem on March 9, 2022 that will be accompanied by an #ItsUpToUs dance challenge choreographed by 21-year-old Zambian social media star and choreographer, Mooya Musunga.

It’s Up to Us is driven by the Mastercard Foundation in partnership with the Africa CDC under their Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative—a $1.5 billion partnership to enable vaccination in Africa by purchasing vaccines for more than 65 million people and providing logistical support to enable the vaccination of millions more.

The partnership also aims to support vaccine manufacturing in Africa through a focus on workforce development, and to strengthen the Africa CDC’s capacity to oversee a historic vaccination effort and to better respond to future outbreaks.

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