There has been a lot of focus on COVID-19 vaccine inequalities between high-income and low- and middle-income countries. For instance, it is estimated that up to 70% of all vaccines to be produced in 2021 were prebooked by a handful of countries.
This has caused severe bottlenecks in vaccine supply to low- and middleincome countries, leading to huge differences in vaccination rates. On average, out of 100 people in a high-income country, 61 have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. In the 29 low-income countries, only 3 out of 100 people have received one dose of the vaccine. In the whole of Africa, about 10 out of 100 have received at least one dose and only 4 out of 100 are fully vaccinated.
Such inequity means that while economies of high-income countries recover and life returns to normal, low-income countries will continue to
struggle with slower economic recovery and the knock on effects.
As time goes on, another picture is emerging. That is one of the inequities
among African countries. While on average 4 in 100 Africans are fully
vaccinated, there are more than 30 countries where less than 5 in 100
people have received a single dose. The top five vaccinated countries in
Africa include three island states and two countries in North Africa with
full vaccination rates ranging from 20% to 72%.
Almost half of the countries in Africa have full vaccination rates below 2%.
To help us keep track of vaccine roll-out across the continent, The
Conversation Africa teamed up with Africa Data Hub to provide a map
with regularly updated data illustrating vaccine distribution.
At a time when the vaccine supply to Africa has increased, partly due to
donations from high-income countries and partly due to access to more
vaccine options such as Sinopharm and J&J, it is important to understand
how that translates to vaccines into peopleʼs arms. And to be able to track
whether existing inequalities among African countries persists.
In the medium term, the map will be invaluable in tracking how an increase
in the COVID-19 vaccine uptake affects the countriesʼ ability to withstand
new waves of infection. The goal of the world should be to have all
countries achieving high rates of vaccination necessary to protect their
whole population from further outbreaks. Such tracking tools help us to
see how much progress we are making.
September 28, 2021 4.37pm SAST