Europe and the US have won the scramble for vaccines – now they must help African nations produce their own
More than 3bn doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have now been administered worldwide. But as the campaign forges ahead, one continent lags far behind the rest. Africa, home to 17% of the global population, accounts for less than 2% of the shots given to date.
In the scramble for vaccines, wealthy countries have come out on top, shoving Covax – the global procurement mechanism on which most of Africa relies – to the end of the queue. The continent’s drive was dealt another blow when India, overwhelmed by a wave of infections, suspended the export of Oxford/AstraZeneca doses manufactured by Covax’s largest supplier, the Serum Institute of India. With shipments unlikely to resume until the end of 2021, only seven out of 54 African nations are on track to immunise even 10% of their populations by September.