The race to vaccinate the world has taken off, with several countries running rapidly and Africa largely left behind.
Unsurprisingly, wealthier countries that entered into advance purchase agreements with vaccine manufacturers are miles ahead in terms of vaccination. To date, The United States (126.5million) and the European Union (58.9 million) have administered the largest number of doses. Israel (113.9 doses/100 people) and the UAE (74.6 doses/100 people) have made the most progress on a population-adjusted basis.
Regarding vaccine delivery, Africa has lagged behind other regions, although shipments to SSA countries, including Angola, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa, have picked up in the last month. However, the continent remains heavily reliant on external donations for the supply of vaccines due to its limited fiscal power, which was further weakened by the pandemic.
Besides procurement challenges, the poor and inadequate level of infrastructural development means that African countries also face storage and logistical bottlenecks as well as inefficient supply chains.
The Africa CDC noted that only 23.6mn vaccine doses (about 1.7% of the population) had been delivered on the continent as of March 15, far from its 35% target set for 2021.
The WHO estimates that c. 7.0mn doses of those doses have been administered. Even though Africa has been spared the huge fatality rates seen in other countries, the continent needs to ramp up vaccinations, primarily due to the dangers posed by new variants.
As we stated in our 2021 outlook report, the ability of SSA economies to contain the spread of the coronavirus amid potential vaccination bottlenecks and financial distress will be a significant factor in driving a much-needed recovery from 2020’s slump.