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People waiting in line to register for a coronavirus vaccine in Kajiado, Kenya, on Sept. 9. Photo: Patrick Meinhardt/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization warned on Thursday that Africa will receive 25% fewer doses of the coronavirus vaccine than expected by the end of the year, in part because of the approval of booster shots in developed countries.

Why it matters: The continent lags behind the rest of the world in vaccinations, and the cut to doses will further delay African countries' vaccination efforts — which raises the risk of new, more aggressive variants emerging.

What they're saying: Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO's regional director for Africa, criticized developed countries for wasting vaccine doses and specifically referenced the more than 15 million doses that have been discarded in the U.S. since March.

  • "This is enough vaccines to cover everyone over 18 years in Liberia, Mauritania and the Gambia," Moeti said in a news conference Thursday. “Every dose is precious and has the potential to save a life."
  • Moeti said high-income countries have pledged to share 1 billion doses globally and, so far, only 120 million have been released.
  • "If [vaccine-producing] countries and companies prioritize vaccine equity, this pandemic would be over quickly."

By the numbers: Just over 3% of the continent's population has been fully vaccinated against the virus, according to data from the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The big picture: The WHO strongly opposes the approval of booster shots in developed countries, arguing the data on the need for them is inconclusive and the doses would be better used to vaccinate people in poorer nations.

Yes, but: The Biden administration, which has unveiled plans for booster shots starting in September, has argued that the additional shots are needed to curb the spread of the virus in the U.S. and that developed countries can both administer boosters and deliver doses to developing countries.

Go deeper: White House may scale back COVID-19 vaccine booster plan

Go deeper

Oct 18, 2021 - Health

Over 30 states have limited officials' public health powers

Photo: Ringo Chiu/AFP via Getty Images

Republican lawmakers in more than 30 U.S. states have weakened health officials' authority to implement policies to protect the public against the coronavirus, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, lawmakers in all 50 states have introduced bills to curb state and local officials' public health authority.

18 hours ago - Axios Twin Cities

Minnesota offers cash and chance at $100K scholarship as vaccine incentive for teens

Expand chart
Data: Minnesota COVID-19 Response; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Minnesota is offering new incentives to shot-wary teens in an effort to boost the state's COVID-19 vaccination rates.

Driving the news: 12 to 17 year olds who get both doses over the next six weeks will receive a $200 Visa gift card, Gov. Tim Walz's administration announced Monday.

  • Kids vaccinated during this period can also enter a lottery for one of five $100,000 scholarships to attend any of the state's public or private colleges or universities.

Why it matters: Public health officials say increasing vaccination rates among young Minnesotans is key to curbing spread of the virus, especially in schools.

Updated 16 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Celebrities are America's new politicians

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Launching gubernatorial bids, making presidential endorsements, founding schools: Celebrities are getting increasingly involved in U.S. public and political life.

Why it matters: As we've reported, politics is no longer just the purview of career politicians, as companies and their CEOs throw their weight around to affect policies. Now, movie stars, famous musicians and professional athletes also are using their influence in politics.