Only 2.5% of the residents of the continent of Africa have been vaccinated against Covid-19. Many believe this is a worrisome statistic, not just for the future of that continent, but for the future of the rest of the world, too. One can make the case that the whole human race is a single “herd” for immunity purposes. For the purpose of a final defeat of the virus, the planet as a whole needs to reach herd immunity levels.
Early in 2021, especially in February, here was a brief spurt of optimism about vaccination numbers of Africa. But at the time, African access was highly dependent on one supplier, The Serum Institute of India. In March the Indian government, struggling to contain its own domestic crisis, suspended vaccine exports.
Since then, there have been efforts to ramp up production of vaccines within Africa. For example, both the Sinovac and the Sputnik V vaccines (which originated respectively, in China and Russia) are now manufactured in Egypt. Both the Pfizer and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines are manufactured in South Africa.
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On December 8, the health ministry of Nigeria helped illuminate the need for local manufacturing, when it revealed that some of the doses that had been donated by wealth Western countries were nearing the end of their shelf life and might soon have to be disposed of.