COVID-19: Morocco Boasts 94% of Africa’s Vaccinated Population
Rabat — Of the 2.61 million Africans who have received one or both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, Morocco alone counts 2.46 million, over 94% of the continent’s vaccinated. The country’s vaccination program has procured over seven million doses to date: a combination of the Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccine and the British-developed, Indian-produced AstraZeneca vaccine. Authorities […] The post COVID-19: Morocco Boasts 94% of Africa’s Vaccinated Population appeared first on Morocco World News.
Rabat — Of the 2.61 million Africans who have received one or both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, Morocco alone counts 2.46 million, over 94% of the continent’s vaccinated.
The country’s vaccination program has procured over seven million doses to date: a combination of the Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccine and the British-developed, Indian-produced AstraZeneca vaccine.
Authorities are questioning why many African countries have been less successful in securing adequate vaccination provisions than richer counterparts.
Numerous public health experts have criticized a perceived “lack of fairness” in COVID vaccine access, an imbalance driven by funding shortfalls, politicking, and vaccine hoarding by the world’s richest countries.
As a result, while several developed nations have moved onto the vaccination of less-vulnerable populations, many of Africa’s elderly and chronically sick — those most susceptible to the coronavirus — still go without protection.
Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization (WHO) regional director for Africa, criticized the imbalance. It is “deeply unjust that the most vulnerable Africans are forced to wait for vaccines while lower-risk groups in rich countries are made safe,” she said.
South Africa, home to nearly 60 million people, rolled out its vaccine program this week after previous concerns about vaccine efficacy against the country’s 501Y.V2 strain. The country’s initial rollout includes 80,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, one of the world’s only COVID vaccines administered in a single dose.
South African president Cyril Ramaphose has led the call against vaccine hoarding. In a speech at the 2021 virtual World Economic Forum, Ramaphose claimed, “The rich countries of the world went out and acquired large doses. Some even acquired up to four times what their population needs, to the exclusion of other countries.”
Canada has ordered 338 million doses of the COVID vaccine from various suppliers, enough to vaccinate its population of 38 million over five times over, according to recent figures from Duke University’s Global Health Innovation Center.
Other developed countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States, have also back-ordered over double the necessary dosage to vaccinate their populations.
The African Union has placed orders for 672 million doses for an estimated population of 1.3 billion. Even if all those vaccines were to arrive tomorrow, the quantity is sufficient to vaccinate only 38% of the continent’s people.
Why not just buy more vaccines? The answer may not be so simple. As vaccine providers like Moderna and Pfizer crumble under international demand, additional doses secured today may take many months to arrive.
More pessimistic estimates hypothesize that the companies’ entire 2021 supply has already been bought up.
French President Emmanuel Macron has urged wealthy countries to donate between 3-5% of vaccine supply to African countries. Macron argues the initiative is “in the interest of the French and the Europeans. Today, more than 10 million of our fellow citizens have families on the other side of the Mediterranean.”
To date, the EU has purchased enough doses to vaccinate its population 2.7 times over.
Global health pundits credit Morocco’s unusual success in vaccine procurement to the country’s early-acting rollout program. Charles Henri-Gallois, French political leader and EU critic, praised the country’s vaccine strategy on Twitter last week, highlighting Morocco as one of few countries that exceed the EU by administered vaccines per capita.
Morocco recently offered 20,000 COVID vaccine doses to neighboring Algeria, seeking to vaccinate 10,000 Saharawis in refugee camps along the border.
Recent figures indicate COVID-19 deaths in Africa recently surpassed 100,000.
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