COVID-19: Africa needs more vaccines

The continent is particularly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, where only 6.6% of the population is currently vaccinated. LILA Gazette tries to explain why Africans have a hard time getting access to the vaccines.

Credit: World Health Organization – Regional office for Africa

By Chase Lo and Zayn Ghanem – 7th grade.

Africa is facing a dire crisis. At the beginning of the year, the WHO (World Health Organization) set the goal of having 40% of the people vaccinated in every country in Africa by the end of 2021. Currently, only five countries are expected to reach that goal. At the time we are writing this article, three countries have already met this goal and two other countries will meet the goal. These countries are Seychelles, Mauritius, Morocco, Tunisia, and Cape Verde.

Why such a low performance? This situation is mainly due to a lack of adequate vaccination supplies such as syringes and that Africa only has 2.4% of the world’s vaccines. The continent has only used 71% of the 204 million made available. Only 6.66% of the population are fully vaccinated and not many more are partially vaccinated with the African population being 1.3 billion.

Variants hitting Africa at the same time

Over the past eleven weeks, Africa has experienced a slow drop in daily cases and deaths as well as increases in vaccinations, but some countries have seen spikes in COVID cases due to the Omicron, Alpha, and Delta variants hitting the continent at the same time. Countries like Mauritius, Benin, and Sao Tome and Principe have seen spikes. According to Reuters, Africa needs to start making its own vaccines to avoid repeats of previous vaccination problems, but are encountering problems. The Omicron variant will surely worsen things in Africa causing higher deaths and infections. This calls for a dire response.

Africa‘s COVID-19 cases are predicted to go up in a 4th spike that will be worse than its predecessors creating a dire need for more vaccines and a might start a panic within the governments. This will only be worsened with the Omicron variant.  The governments are being blamed by foreign powers for not doing enough as thousands of people die every day and millions are infected. This has amounted to 9 million cases and 5.27 million deaths.

African officials have said that Africa needs to find a new innovative way to save the economy from crumbling. During the 2021 African Economic Conference, leaders from all over Africa came together to find mecanisms to save the dwindling economy from this global pandemic. With the holidays coming up, Africa won’t be able to make much revenue from tourism due to COVID-19. The African Bank is stepping up to help. This crisis won’t be solved by individual countries. It will be solved by all of them, together.

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