How India's COVID-19 Crisis Imperils Vaccinations in Africa

Here & Now


Covid nineteen crisis in india is now the worst in the world. The number of cases and deaths continued to rise and the country is no longer exporting. Its vaccines and this is putting a strain on other countries and continents including africa. The continent accounts for sixteen percent of the population but only has received about one percent of the world's vaccines npr global health correspondent. New eisenman joins us now with the latest. Welcome hi how many vaccines does the continent need. And what was the original plan right. So africa has about one point. Three billion people if you figure somewhere between sixty percent eighty percent need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity. That's as many as one billion people. The problem is that as you noted. Africa was all but shut out by wealthy countries buying up the first doses so the plan that leaders there cobbled together is okay by the end of this year. Cover between twenty percent maybe even thirty percent of the population through the kovacs facility. That's international buying platform. That's co led by the world health organization and another fifteen percent of people were going to be covered with vaccine at the african union which is a coalition of african nations had separately negotiated with various vaccine makers to secure but that's just forty five percent of people covered and a lot of african governments are not in a great position financially to buy the rest so it was already a difficult picture and then the situation in india hit. Yes yes. can you speak to how the the crisis in india has thrown a wrench into africa's vaccine rollout well pretty much all of the first doses that kovacs the international platform was planning to send to africa. This spring was going to come from a manufacturer in india serum institute of india but because india's need for vaccine quickly became so huge they're no longer exporting so already. There are forty million doses. That africa was counting on for march. Didn't arrive another fifty million doses for april haven't been delivered and it's already clear that the hold up is going to continue at least through may this month Meanwhile i mentioned the african union had worked at its own deal to get vaccines well about a third of that was also going to come from serum institute of india so you have a situation where the amount of vaccine that was planned for. Africa wasn't enough and then very little of that. Insufficient quantity has actually reached the continent.

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