Daily US Times: In the global race to vaccinate people against coronavirus, Africa is tragically short of Covid vaccine.
In fact, the continent has barely gotten out of the starting blocks.
In South Africa, which has Africa’s most robust economy and its biggest coronavirus caseload, just 0.8% of the population got full dose of Covid-19 vaccine, according to a worldwide tracker kept by Johns Hopkins University. And hundreds of thousands of South Africa’s health workers, many of whom come face-to-face with the virus every day, are still waiting for their shots.
In Nigeria, the continent’s biggest country with more than 200 million people, only 0.1% are fully protected. Kenya, with a population of 50 million, is even lower. Uganda has recalled doses from rural areas because the country doesn’t have nearly enough to fight outbreaks in big cities.
Chad did not administer its first vaccine shots until this past weekend. And there are at least five other countries in Africa where not one dose has been put into an arm, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says the continent of 1.3 billion people is facing a severe shortage of Covid-19 vaccine at the same time a new wave of infections is rising across Africa. WHO said last week, vaccine shipments into Africa have ground to a “near halt”.
Africa CDC Director Dr. John Nkengasong, said: “It is extremely concerning and at times frustrating.”
The US and Britain, in contrast, have fully vaccinated against Covid-19 more than 40% of their populations, with high-risk people and higher rates for adults.
Countries in Europe are near or past 20% coverage, and their citizens are starting to think about where their vaccine certificates might take them on their summer vacations.
The United States, Germany and France are even offering shots to youngsters, who are at very low risk of serious illness from Covid-19.