Africa’s Vaccine Scarcity Puts the Lie to Multilateralism

Africa’s Vaccine Scarcity Puts the Lie to Multilateralism
A nurse at Kenyatta National Hospital fills a syringe from a vial of the Covid-19 Covishield vaccine in Nairobi, Kenya, March 24, 2021 (AP photo by Robert Bonet).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Africa Watch, which includes a look at the week’s top stories and best reads from and about the African continent. Subscribe to receive it by email every Friday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox.

We are all in this together. COVID-19 is the great leveler. The pandemic knows no borders. Build back better together. 

The coronavirus pandemic has yielded enough shopworn cliches to last an entire lifetime of Model United Nations speeches. Yet, nearly 18 months after Africa’s first recorded case of COVID-19, the surge in the delta variant of the coronavirus continues to cause hundreds of thousands of deaths across the continent. The delta variant, now confirmed in more than 32 African countries, has been found to spread 225 percent faster than the original virus, causing a third wave of the pandemic that is proving to be Africa’s deadliest so far, even as pandemic-driven social unrest continues to manifest in South Africa and many other African countries. The U.S. recently announced a donation of 25 million COVID-19 vaccines to 50 African countries, but that is woefully insufficient to meet Africa’s vaccine demand. 

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