When will African countries get Coronavirus vaccine?

As wealthier countries across the world continue to receive Covid-19 vaccines and get their people vaccinated, African countries continue to play the waiting game and they don’t know when they will be able to get it.

Governments in wealthier nations especially in Europe, US, Asia and Canada are making every effort to secure enough vaccines for their populations but most of African countries are banking their hopes on the Covax facility which is headed by the World Health Orgarnization (WHO) and the Vaccine Alliance, Gavi which announced that it had acquired 1.3 billion doses of promising vaccine candidates for middle- and lower-income countries in 2021.

The facility plans to deliver the first tranches of doses in the first half of 2021 and these will be administered to pandemic frontline workers and other most vulnerable groups.

Huge challenges

However, any hopes of African countries to get this done sooner than later are threatened by the stiff competition presented by the wealthier nations which have already signed deals directly with the manufactures of such vaccines. Other challenges that Covax may encounter in trying to deliver these vaccines in lower income countries include logistics and infrastructure.

For effective distribution, Covax would need to transport about 850 tones of vaccines every month which doubles its usual capacity. This is in addition of every recipient country having cold chain infrastructure in place.

Funding presents another huge challenge in that both procurement and distribution in these countries require about $4.6bn and $540 respectively.

People worried

People in middle- and lower-income countries with no hope of getting the Coronavirus vaccine anytime soon continue to be worried especially as they watch others in wealthier nations get vaccinated.

92 0f the 189 countries that have so far signed up to the Covax initiative are low income and they hope that the united bloc will help to increase their bargaining power with the drug companies in order to get the vaccine sooner than later. According to Covax, the 92 low income countries will have their vaccines paid for by donor funds to which the UK has already contributed half a billion dollars while the US and Russia are among the few usual donors that are not contributing.

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