On Thursday, the World Health Organization announced that at least 20% of Africans would have been vaccinated by the end of this year. This comes when the COVID-19 pandemic has spread to many parts of the continent, infecting thousands. Only a handful of Africans have been immunized against the virus. This is in comparison to more affluent countries, which have vaccinated most of their people.
“The (vaccination) objective is to reach 20 percent, at least to cover 20 percent of the population by the end of the year, and I might say that with the latest Covax facility, there is a very, very good prospect that the aim to supply about 600 million doses by the end of 2021 will be reached, ” said Richard Mihigo, WHO Africa immunization coordinator.
The African Union also announced that it had secured 400 million doses of vaccines on top of the 270 million they had already purchased. That is good news considering most African countries cannot afford the doses, hence relying on donations.
The New COVID-19 Variant
As of now, about six African countries have confirmed cases for the new variant. South Africa is at the top leading with multiple cases, then other countries like Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, and Zambia. According to world reports on Covid, South Africa happens to be among the first countries to confirm cases of the variant. Besides, a total of 24 countries across the globe have reported cases of the new COVID-19 variant.
And since the virus is highly contagious, there is concern that it is spreading rapidly. Possibilities are countries in Africa might contract it, or maybe it is already present through undetected.
High Demand for Vaccines
The demand for coronavirus vaccine is surging with the escalating covid cases. As such, many countries are bracing about in attempts to secure enough doses for their populations. Nevertheless, the doses are scarce. Analysts predict that for Africa to immunize 60% of its people, it will need about 1.5 billion vaccine doses.
More so, since these doses are coming from abroad, gathering that many vaccines won’t be easy. Mostly because the pandemic has massively impacted the western states, they equally rely on vaccines. According to Africa CDC, a total of 3.4 million Africans have contracted the virus, and 87000 died. Those tallies are way less compared to what America and Europe have recorded. Some African states like Morocco, Egypt, Seychelles, and Guinea have already kicked off the brighter side’s vaccination process.
During the 2021 World Economic Forum, which happened on Tuesday via virtual meeting, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa discussed the issue of vaccine nationalism. He accused rich nations of hoarding excess vaccines instead of supplying them to the underdeveloped countries which hadn’t received even the first batch.
He added that some developed countries had already vaccinated at least 20% of their population. The issue had gotten to him, mostly since his state was confirming high cases, yet they were still waiting for vaccines to arrive. Another issue that caught his attention was the fact that some developed countries had preordered all the available doses, making them out of stock.