Vaccination rates vary greatly across Africa and certain health systems in smaller countries are faring better.
According to health experts, successful vaccination campaigns in Africa are critical to eliminating the pandemic globally. Low inoculation rates on the continent favor viral changes like the new Omicron variant, which has caused yet another round of worldwide travel bans. According to the World Health Organization, only 102 million people, or 7.5 percent of the continent's population, are fully vaccinated, and vaccination inequity will prolong the pandemic. African nations have been pleading for more vaccine deliveries this year, but supply has been severely limited due to production constraints and hoarding by richer countries until recently. In some parts of Africa, vaccination campaigns were already hampered by a lack of finances, medical personnel, and equipment, as well as vaccine apprehension.
About 40% of vaccines that have arrived so far on the continent have not been used, according to data from the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, a policy think-tank. The rate of vaccine use will have to rise fourfold to keep up with expected supply in coming months, the institute says. “We are all, like you, very concerned that countries are not picking up the vaccines. The uptake is not as we would have loved to see,” said John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Donors have occasionally supplied African countries vaccination batches that were close to expiring, leaving them ineffective in some situations thus showing that even when help arrives, things might go wrong.