Vaccinations in Africa: the situation

In the Lancet issue of 4 September 2021, an article appeared in the name of Sara Jervings, addressing the precarious situation of the state of COVID 19 vaccinations in Africa.

The World Health Organization (WHO) initiative for the distribution and equal access of vaccines in poor and disadvantaged countries (COVAX) had sent 600,000 doses to Ghana after two months of vaccination in the UK, and it was February 2021, a month in which 10 countries accounted for approximately 75% of the doses administered worldwide (almost 200 million).

COVAX had to go shopping with the main vaccine supplier (Serum Institute of India) blocked by the Indian government itself.

Months of insufficient or low supply followed until July. Donated doses began to reach into the millions as high-income countries, which had already vaccinated substantial proportions of their populations, began to loosen their grip on global supplies slightly. Even so, only 2.5% of the total population across Africa is fully vaccinated.

Now, the WHO Regional Office for Africa aims to vaccinate around 40% of the continent's population by the end of 2021. This would require up to 793 million more doses than the 129 million that have already been received. This goal is practically unattainable by October (source Shabir Mahdi University of Johannesburg) even in the face of tripling in the number of vaccinations in recent weeks.  

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Some African countries have secured vaccine doses of Russia's Sinopharm and Sinovac or Sputnik V on a bilateral basis, allowing for higher levels of vaccination. For example, Morocco has fully vaccinated 39% of its population and the Seychelles have vaccinated 71%. But others are far behind. Among the different, who vaccinated less than 0.1%, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, Cameroon, Chad, DR Congo: both for doubts about the type of vaccine (AstraZeneca, above all), both for lack of programming, and for mistrust of very existence of COVID, as in the case of the late president of Tanzania.

By the end of the year, with new arrivals from COVAX and the USA, coverage of at least 25% of the African population would be allowed and the African Union has also signed an agreement for the production of the Johnso & Johnson vaccine in South Africa, with a significant increase in supplies. vaccinate. There is no shortage of China from the scenario of bidders.  

Finally, in the article, it is recalled to everyone's memory, through the voice of Doctors without Borders, that vaccines, even if they arrived in enormous quantities at the same time, would put in difficulty the already lacking storage facilities: transforming a vaccine into a vaccination requires human economic resources and time. The aforementioned prof Mahdi also recalls this: "I think countries underestimate the amount of resources that will be needed to actually increase vaccination to the rates that would be needed to reach that 40% threshold by the end of the year."

to the article

The long road ahead for COVID-19 vaccination in Africa - The Lancet