The World Health Organization wants to achieve global COVID-19 vaccination. However, to do this, the WHO’s first target was to ensure that 10% of the population of every country globally had received the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of September 2021. Sadly, 56 member countries were unable to meet that target. The greater number of these countries were from Africa and the Middle East.
The organization then put another goal in place to vaccinate 40% of the populace of countries worldwide by the end of 2021 and 70% by mid-2022. At the end of 2021, only fifty percent of the countries worldwide reached the objective. According to the BBC, it was particularly worse in Africa. Only seven nations hit the 40% goal, with three of the countries being small island countries.
The African Countries who hit the WHO’s COVID-19 Vaccination Objective
Only seven African nations hit the WHO’s 40% vaccination objective before the end of 2021. Below are the African countries.
Seychelles was one of the first three nations to cross the 40% goal before 2021 ended. The East African island nation has about 100,000 people and about 79.5% of them have taken the COVID-19 vaccine. However, Seychelles’ small population size is most likely a significant advantage to the high vaccination rate.
Mauritius, another of the first three nations that crossed the 40% COVID-19 vaccination goal before the end of 2021, has about 1.2 million people living in the country. Interestingly, 71.5% of the population were inoculated against COVID-19 by the end of 2021.
Morocco is the third of the first three nations that crossed the 40% objective before the end of 2021. Morroco is situated in the northern part of Africa with a population of 37 million people. Nonetheless, 61.6% of its populace can boast of receiving the full COVID-19 vaccine.
Tunisia followed the three countries shortly after it was confirmed that they had hit the 40% target. The northern country, with about 11 million people has vaccinated 47.2% of its population.
#5: Cape Verde
The West African nation was one of the countries that passed the 40% goal by the end of 2021. The nation has about 540,000 inhabitants, and 45.6% were vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Southern African nation has a population of about 2.3 million inhabitants. Surprisingly, they are one of the seven countries to exceed the WHO objective before the end of 2021. Consequently, the country vaccinated 42.30% of its entire populace.
Although Rwanda initially complained of delays in getting syringes, the country is now the seventh of the seven countries to meet WHO’s goal in Africa. Moreover, the East-Central African country has about 13 million inhabitants and has been able to fully inoculate 40.9% of its entire population. They are the first East-Central African nation to cross the 40% mark.
Reasons for Low COVID-19 Vaccination in Africa
According to the BBC, African nations that had 10% of their population fully injected with the COVID-19 vaccine as of December 30, 2021, were not up to half. This was a metric that was supposed to be met by the end of September. At the end of September, a lot of African nations had not even vaccinated up to 10% of their entire population.
Many countries, including some nations with the largest populations, have not vaccinated up to 5% of their populace, with Nigeria only vaccinating about 2.1% of its population. Ethiopia only vaccinated 3.5% of its population and the Democratic Republic of Congo vaccinated just 0.1% of its people. As of the end of 2021, Eritrea had not even started the vaccination process.
What could be wrong? Why is administering the COVID-19 vaccine so slow in Africa? Highlighted below are some of the possible reasons responsible for the slow COVID-19 vaccine administration in Africa.
#1: Poor Health Infrastructure
The health infrastructure in some Africa is wanting. The outbreak of COVID-19 helped expose that fact. In many countries in Africa, medical tourism is a booming business. These and the shortage of health personnel account for the slow pace of inoculation.
#2: Low Funding
Lack of funds for the training of medical workers and putting them in various stations is one of the reasons why inoculation in Africa is slow. If they can overcome this challenge, there should be a massive boost in the administration of vaccines in Africa.
#3: Issues with Storing the Vaccines
COVID-19 vaccines usually have a two-and-a-half-month period of validity from when they arrive at their destination. Typically, nations require notification a month before the vaccines arrive. Additionally, the non-availability of funds and health infrastructure in Africa has led to some of these vaccines being wasted. According to the BBC, as of the end of 2021, only 63% of the vaccines that were sent to Africa had been used.
#4: Vaccine Apathy
Many Africans believe their pastor more than they believe their doctors. Consequently, there is a widespread belief that the vaccine will somehow herald the coming of the antichrist. Some believe it is the mark of the antichrist that was foretold. Also, others believe unfounded rumors about the vaccine being a “chip of the devil.” These reasons, and many more, have made Africans skeptical about taking the vaccines.
#5: Vaccine Scarcity
COVID-19 vaccines coming to Africa are pretty small. That is because wealthier nations had bought up most of the available supplies. Africa relied on delivery mainly from the Serum Institute of India (SII). However, when they stopped sending out vaccines because of the urgent need in their home country, Africa suffered. There was a shortage of vaccines, and individuals who were even willing could not get the vaccines.
Although the rate at which people are taking the COVID-19 vaccine in Africa is slow, the problem lies not only with Africans. Turns out Africa needs to develop its health infrastructure and store these vaccines properly. Also, there is a desperate need for Africans to begin producing their vaccines.
If they do, more nations will be able to immunize their citizens more efficiently. Also, there is a need for improved awareness on the efficacy and safety of the vaccine. Unless everyone gets the COVID-19 vaccine, we will continue to experience the emergence of new variants.