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Residents wait at the Grassy Park civic center vaccination point in Cape Town, South Africa, on Nov. 30. Photo: Dwayne Senior/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Africa may not hit the target of vaccinating 70% of the continent's population against COVID-19 until August 2024, the World Health Organization warned Tuesday.

Driving the news: The continent saw an 83% surge in new COVID-19 cases over the past week as full vaccination among residents remains low, underscoring the vast global disparity of COVID-19 vaccine access, WHO said.

  • Less than 8% of Africa's population has received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, compared to some richer countries that have started rolling out booster shots for residents, AP reports.
  • As of Dec. 13, just 20 African countries had vaccinated at least 10% of their population, according to the WHO.

What they're saying: "In a world where Africa had the doses and support to vaccinate 70% of its population by the end of 2021 — a level many wealthy countries have achieved — we probably would be seeing tens of thousands of fewer deaths from COVID-19 next year," WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti said in a statement.

  • "But we can still save many lives if we can accelerate the pace of vaccination in early 2022," Moeti added.

Go deeper: Omicron threatens to deepen global vaccine disparities

Go deeper

Jan 15, 2022 - Health

Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron

Three COVID-19 testing companies place testing locations outside Grand Central Terminal on Jan. 14 in New York City. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Experts are warning that subsequent COVID-19 variants are likely to come after Omicron, AP reports.

Why it matters: The warnings come as there's no guarantee that subsequent variants "will cause milder illness or that existing vaccines will work against them," underscoring the need for widespread vaccination, AP writes.

Scramble over gas for EU as Russia threatens Ukraine

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Cracks in the NATO alliance regarding sanctions for Russia should President Vladimir Putin order troops into Ukraine are in large part based on energy supply concerns.

Why it matters: Russia holds tremendous leverage over some European countries because it provides roughly 40% of Europe's natural gas supply. In Germany, this figure is greater than 50%.

Why the Fed might want to jolt the markets

Fed chair Jerome Powell at a hearing earlier this month. Photo: Brendan Smialowski-Pool/Getty Images

So far, financial markets are cooperating nicely with the Federal Reserve's efforts to restrain inflation. They're doing the Fed's work for it by creating tighter financial conditions, in a distinctly non-panicky way.

  • But as the central bank's policymakers meet this week, an underlying question they face is whether the adjustment is happening too slowly.