Only 2% of COVID-19 vaccines administered globally were used in Africa, and as a result only two nations on the continent have reached the WHO benchmark to support every country in vaccinating 40% of population by the end of 2021, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Tuesday.
The statistical data from the director general implies that only 114 million vaccine doses have been administered in Africa, a continent with a total population of 1.3 billion.
“The WHO global target is to vaccinate at least 40% of its population by the end of this year and 70% by the middle of next year. So far only two countries in Africa have achieved the 40% target, the lowest of any region. That’s not because African countries do not have the capacity or experience to roll out vaccines. It’s because they have been left behind by the rest of the world, as more than 5.7 billion vaccine doses have been administered globally but only 2% of those in Africa,” Ghebreyesus said at a press conference on the latest about COVID-19, with a focus on Africa and vaccine equity.
Although the infection and death rates due to COVID-19 complications are rapidly growing in African countries, the pharma giants have sold more than 90% of their COVID-19 vaccines to rich countries which overpay them as much as 24 times the actual price, according to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
The inequalities become more obvious when statistics come into perspective. In the European Union at the moment, 57.8% of the population is vaccinated with at least one dose of the vaccine. In the United States, this percentage is 56.8%. At the same time, in very large African countries with hundreds of millions of people, those percentages are in the single digits.