Africa will have to wait “weeks if not months” before receiving Covid-19 vaccines approved by the World Health Organization, according to various officials working towards getting doses for the continent.
Close to 900 million doses have been secured so far through various initiatives, enough to inoculate about 30% of the continent’s 1.3 billion people this year.
Hoarding by wealthy nations, funding shortfalls, regulations and cold chain requirements have slowed the process of rolling out the vaccines. “The world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure and the price will be paid with lives and livelihoods in the poorest countries,” warned WHO head Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus.
Calls for equity have been growing. Close to 40 million doses have been administered in at least 49 higher-income countries, compared to just 25 doses given in just one of the lowest-income countries, according to Dr Tedros. “Not 25 million, not 25,000, just 25,” he said, without saying which country.
So far, none of the main vaccines has yet been administered in Africa, two months after the first doses were rolled out in Europe.