COVID-19 vaccine access rates in Africa remain dismal, according to the WHO’s most recent update. Just 20 million Africans, or 1.5 percent of the continent’s 1.2 billion people, are fully vaccinated. A third wave of infections is sweeping the continent and even the African Union’s modest goal of getting 20 percent of the population vaccinated by the end of 2021 seems out of reach.
Unable to strike early deals for vaccines, African nations bet on COVAX, a global partnership, to deliver free doses to countries that needed them—but self-interest beat out global cooperation, leaving COVAX underfunded as rich countries jumped the line.
So, what now? How can African governments shape their response to the pandemic and prepare for the future? Patrick Tippoo, Head of Science and Innovation at Biovac and Executive Director of the African Vaccine Manufacturing Initiative, and Prashant Yadav, Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development, join Gyude Moore to discuss the options available and how African countries should be preparing for the inevitable next pandemic.
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