COVID-19 vaccine hoarding by wealthy nations create shortage for Africa

Wealthy countries like the United States and England are hoarding COVID-19 vaccines, and it is creating a shortage for some of the poorest countries in the world, including in Africa.

A push from the COVAX facility might be able to ramp up the operation, but experts are not so sure. 

Almost 100,000 people have died due to COVID-related complications in Africa. Although recovery levels are high, average daily new cases are about 10,000. However, a study from the Africa Center for Strategic Studies warns that the significantly low number of COVID testing is understating these case numbers. 

COVAX, an organization aimed at promoting and aiding worldwide vaccination efforts, is providing assistance to African nations in need of vaccine and healthcare infrastructure. Credit: Fernando Zhiminaicela/PIXABAY 
COVAX, an organization aimed at promoting and aiding worldwide vaccination efforts, is providing assistance to African nations in need of vaccine and healthcare infrastructure. Credit: Fernando Zhiminaicela/PIXABAY

Countries where COVID-19 cases are higher, such as the DRC, Lesotho, and Mauritania, also have ongoing civil unrest, which makes testing and enforcing public health policies difficult. 

Some countries affected by the Ebola outbreak have already improved their infrastructure and medical procedures to better respond to future pandemics.

However, a majority of African nations still lack the proper facilities and infrastructure to house and distribute millions of vaccines. 

COVAX and UNICEF are teaming up to help countries in need of special assistance with installing fridges and other supplies to supply COVID-19 vaccines.

If the top wealthiest nations also team up to alleviate the disproportionate allocation of vaccines, it could help prevent spread of new strains similar to the South African variant.

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