Less than 0.1 per cent of the COVID-19 vaccines administered worldwide, so far, were administered in Africa, the United Nations has said. This is despite the continent making up about 20 per cent of the global population.
On Sunday, the UN said over 70 million doses of the approved COVID-19 vaccines have been administered, so far, globally.
But less than 20,000 doses of these vaccines were administered in Africa, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a tweet, on Sunday night.
Mr Guterres said a wide vaccination campaign is needed to prevent global immunity gaps which could put everyone at risk.
“More than 70 million #COVID19 vaccine doses have been administered so far. Less than 20,000 of these were on the African continent,” he said.
“A global immunity gap puts everyone at risk. We need a global vaccination campaign that reaches everyone, everywhere.”
Global health experts had warned that Africa will be the last region to get enough supplies of the doses of the much-needed vaccine for the highly contagious disease which is spreading rapidly across the globe.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) had warned against inequality in COVID-19 vaccines distribution worldwide, hence, the establishment of a global mechanism established last April, known as the COVAX Facility to ensure all countries have access to vaccines.
Most African countries, including Nigeria, are banking on benefitting from the COVAX programme, which was set-up to divide over a billion doses of vaccines across 92 low-and middle-income countries.
The facility promised access to vaccines for up to 20 per cent of participating countries’ population with an initial supply beginning in the first quarter of the year to immunise three per cent of their population.
But whether the COVAX facility is able to deliver vaccines as promised or not, African countries must look for other alternatives to vaccinate at least 50 per cent of their population to reach herd immunity.
Through the COVAX initiative, the Nigerian government had announced that, at least, 100,000 doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines will arrive in the country by February.
Health experts said Russia and China rolled out their vaccines without phase 3 clinical trial results that confirm the vaccine effectiveness.