San Francisco Chronicle

Africa facing a severe lack of vaccines

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In the global race to vaccinate people against COVID19, Africa is tragically at the back of the pack.

In South Africa, which has the continent’s most robust economy and its biggest coronaviru­s caseload, just 0.8% of the population is fully vaccinated, according to a worldwide tracker kept by Johns Hopkins University. And hundreds of thousands of the country’s health workers, many of whom come facetoface with the virus every day, are still waiting for their shots.

In Nigeria, Africa’s biggest country with more than 200 million people, only 0.1% are fully protected. Kenya, with 50 million people, is even lower. Uganda has recalled doses from rural areas because it doesn’t have nearly enough to fight outbreaks in big cities.

Chad didn’t administer its first vaccine shots until this past weekend. And there are at least five other countries in Africa where not one dose has been put into an arm, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The World Health Organizati­on says the continent of 1.3 billion people is facing a severe shortage of vaccine at the same time a new wave of infections is rising across Africa. Vaccine shipments into Africa have ground to a “near halt,” WHO said last week.

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