There has been global competition for the roll out of Covid-19 vaccines, and African countries have generally not been as successful as richer countries.
World Health Organization (WHO) regional director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, has expressed sadness over the unfair distribution of vaccines especially to poor countries who are unable to acquire enough vaccines for their population.
“It is deeply unjust that the most vulnerable Africans are forced to wait for vaccines while lower-risk groups in rich countries are made safe,” Moeti said.
Some countries like Canada have acquired enough vaccines to vaccinate their population several times over- even taking into account single and double dose of the vaccine.
- Canada has ordered 338 million vaccines to inoculate its citizens five times over
- The UK ordered 457 million doses enough to vaccinate its citizens 3.6 times over.
- European Union ordered 1.8 billion doses that can inoculate its population 2.7 times over
- Australia ordered 124 million doses (2.5x of its population)
- USA ordered 1.2 billion doses (2x of its population)
- Brazil ordered 232 million doses that covers only 55% of its population’
- Indonesia ordered for 190 million doses (38% of its population
- India ordered 116 million (4% of its population)
- Saudi Arabia ordered 3 million doses (4% of its population)
While these countries have ordered their vaccines and most already vaccinating, African countries are left hoping to get vaccines through international and regional schemes.
One of such initiative is the global Covax initiative, in which countries pool their resources to support the development of effective vaccines with a view to ensuring that everyone gets a fair supply.
The WHO expects that African countries will begin receiving doses from the scheme by the end of this month, and the initial 90 million vaccine doses are expected to cover 3% of the continent’s population.
This will immunise those most in need of protection, including healthcare workers and other vulnerable groups.
The final Covax target is to provide up to 600 million doses to Africa, enough to vaccinate at least 20% of the population by the end of 2021.
A Look at African Countries Already Vaccinating
Some countries started their programmes in the last month or so, but most African nations have not even begun.
Here is a list of countries in North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa that have begun vaccination:
- Morocco (AstraZeneca and Sinopharm)
- Algeria (Sputnik V)
- Egypt (Sinopharm)
- South Africa (Johnson & Johnson)
- Seychelles (Sinopharm and AstraZeneca)
- Rwanda (reportedly using Pfizer and Moderna)
- Mauritius (AstraZeneca)
- Zimbabwe (Sinopharm)
Others such as Senegal and Equatorial Guinea have had their first deliveries – of Sinopharm – but have yet to begin giving them to general public.
Guinea has administered only 60 doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine – on an experimental basis.
Africa has now recorded more than 100,000 deaths from coronavirus, amidst concerns over the delay in rolling out Covid-19 vaccinations.