Sep 30, 2021 - World

More than 70% of African countries miss COVID vaccination target

A person receives a vaccine in South Africa
Photo: Luba Lesolle/Gallo Images via Getty Images

The World Health Organization said on Thursday that just 15 out of 54 African countries had fully vaccinated 10% of their populations against COVID-19.

Why it matters: The announcement that more than 70% have missed the World Health Assembly's target indicates that global leaders are struggling to narrow the large gap in vaccine access between poor and wealthy countries.

  • The longer it takes to reach the goal, the more likely it becomes that a new variant will undermine the efficacy of the vaccines, per the World Health Assembly.

Details: The African countries that have reached the 10% goal include Seychelles, Mauritius, Morocco, Tunisia, Comoros, Cape Verde and other countries with "relatively small" populations, according to the WHO.

  • Half of the 52 African countries have fully vaccinated "just 2% or less of their populations," the WHO said.

Of note: About 90% of high income-countries globally have reached this vaccination goal per the WHO.

The big picture: In May, the World Health Assembly announced its goal of having 10% of every country vaccinated by Sept. 30th, which would lead to 30% of the world being vaccinated.

  • The WHO wants 40% of the world's population vaccinated by year's end.

What they're saying: Dr. Richard Mihigo, the WHO coordinator for the Immunization and Vaccines Development Program of Africa, said there is "still a long way to go" to reach that target.

  • “Shipments are increasing but opaque delivery plans are still the number one nuisance that hold Africa back,” Mihigo added.

What's next: Mihigo said that COVAX, the global vaccine distribution program, is “working with donors to identify the countries that can currently absorb large volume of vaccine and send them their way.”

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