Africa’s dilemma highlights the vast inequality between rich nations, which were able to corner vaccine supplies early, and poor countries dependent upon Covax and donations.
To date, around 1.53 billion doses have been administered globally, but only around 1% of them in Africa, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Most of Africa’s 1.3 billion people have had no access to vaccines at all.
The US, meanwhile, has lifted its mask mandate, and this week France and Austria resumed serving customers at cafes, restaurants and beer gardens.
“As people living in richer countries hit the reset button this summer and their lives start to look normal, in Africa our lives will stay on hold. This is unjust,” Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, said on Thursday.
A PERFECT STORM
The Indian export freeze risks further deepening the chasm between rich and poor by undermining the meagre progress African nations had made in recent months.
According to the WHO, eight African countries have used 100% of the doses they received via Covax, effectively halting their inoculation drives since those shots made up the bulk of their supplies. Others are running low.
Of Covax doses already administered in Africa, around 80% were first doses of AstraZeneca’s two-shot vaccine.