Towards the Equitable Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccines in Africa
Infections caused by the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic have delivered a decisive blow to health systems across the world and resulted in drastic economic hardships. COVID-19 vaccines have proven to reduce the risk of mortality and morbidity against the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic and hence the vaccine must be distributed equitably among the global community. The comparatively low rate of vaccination in many of the low and middle income African countries, risks prolonging the pandemic and the emergence of new and dangerous variants of COVID-19. The vaccine supply chain has been also chiefly directed towards high-income countries, while African countries continue to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine by using traditional procedures of routine immunisation and erstwhile vaccination programmes. These have not been able to fulfil the current demand for the vaccine and instead, have adversely hindered the vaccines’ effective distribution. African countries must accelerate vaccine distribution by implementing innovative measures conducive to optimal distribution at the local and the national level, while also redirecting a sizable portion of vaccines from manufacturers and countries which have purchased a surplus.