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It’ll take more than vaccines to get Africa vaccinated

Ideas

It’ll take more than vaccines to get Africa vaccinated

Rich nations are asking Africans to take doses while showing little evidence of solidarity in the other direction

David Fickling

How do we ensure that the world has access to the Covid-19 vaccines needed to prevent more variants like the latest Omicron strain from emerging?

One disturbingly common response to calls from the World Health Organisation and others to increase the availability of doses in emerging economies is to suggest supply isn’t really the problem but demand. SA, where Omicron was first identified, provides one data point in favour of this hypothesis. Though barely 24% of the population has been fully vaccinated, the department of health last week asked Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer to suspend delivery of vaccines because its existing stockpile was more than enough at current lacklustre rates of uptake.

To be clear, outside the rich world demand is clearly not the main constraining factor on inoculations. All but 14 of the 51 nations with supply agreements sufficient to cover their entire populations are high-income countries, according to data collected by Unicef...

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