Wednesday, April 21, 2021

One Continent is Not Like the Others

On this global map of Covid-19 vaccinations one continent stands out as being not like the others. While good progress is being made to vaccinate the populations of many countries around the world the situation in Africa is a damning indictment of the greed of the pharmaceutical companies and the selfish stance of so called 'first world countries'.

Bloomberg's Vaccination Tracker map shows that people lucky enough to live in one of the richest countries of the world are much more likely to have been vaccinated than someone living in a poorer country. According to Bloomberg "countries with the highest incomes are getting vaccinated 25 times faster than those with the lowest". If you live in an African country then your chances of getting vaccinated are even lower.

Bloomberg reports that around 15.9 million vaccination doses are being administered around the world every single day. So far around 6% of the global population have been vaccinated. Very few of those people live in Africa. Hover over a country on Bloomberg's interactive Vaccination Tracker map and you can see what percentage of the country has been vaccinated against Covid-19. For example in South Africa, one of the richest African countries, just 0.5% of the population has been vaccinated. In the USA 33.3% of the population has been vaccinated.

The president of South Africa says that there is a "vaccine apartheid", because the majority of the world's vaccinations have been given to the rich and just 0.2% of the world's vaccination supplies have been given to low-income countries. Of the pharmaceutical companies only AstraZeneca are providing vaccines at cost price. The rest see Covid-19 as a way to make huge profits. However the main problem is actually one of supply. The simple fact is that western 'first world' governments are hoarding supplies of Covid-19 vaccines. 

The result of this hoarding is that Covid-19 will probably continue to surge in countries with low vaccination numbers (for example the recent astronomical rise of cases in India). This will lead to further mutations of the virus. Some of these mutations will be more resistant to Covid vaccinations. Therefore the richer countries of the world are not only showing staggering levels of selfishness by hoarding vaccination supplies they are also shooting themselves in the foot.

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