In SummaryAs Americans prepare to receive their booster, or third COVID-19 vaccine shot, residents in Africa are in desperate need of their first dose.
Fewer than 4% of Africans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of mid-September, with the majority of the 5.7 billion vaccine doses delivered around the world going to only 10 wealthy countries, per The Associated Press.
The United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Israel are among the countries that have started or plan to administer boosters as African nations still wait for their first dose.
“The virus doesn’t know continents, borders, even less nationalities or social statuses,” Chad’s President Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno said at the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, per AP. “The countries and regions that aren’t vaccinated will be a source of propagating and developing new variants of the virus. In this regard, we welcome the repeated appeals of the United Nations secretary general and the director general of the [World Health Organization] in favor of access to the vaccine for all. The salvation of humanity depends on it.”
According to WHO, if the continent is to fully vaccinate 70% of its population by September 2022, COVID-19 vaccine supplies to Africa must increase by more than seven times, from roughly 20 million per month to 150 million per month on average.
The US promised to distribute 500 million extra COVID-19 vaccinations to low-income countries over the next year at the conference, boosting its total pledges to more nearly 1.1 billion doses.