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World Bank raises alarm over Africa's vaccine neglect--says only 2.5% of doses have reached the continent

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Until now only 2 per cent of the people living in Africa’s low-income countries have been fully vaccinated, and vaccination rates are still below 1 per cent in many countries.

The World Bank in a recently published blog said that of the 6.4 billion vaccine doses administered globally, only 2.5 per cent have been administered in Africa – even though the continent accounts for a little over 17 per cent of the world’s population.

Underlining the need for vaccine equity in battling the Covid 19 menace, the World Bank said vaccinating the world against the virus should be a top development priority.  “We must keep reminding ourselves of the reason for ensuring mass vaccination of the entire world: no one is safe anywhere until everyone is safe,” the blog said.

Until now only 2 per cent of the people living in Africa’s low-income countries have been fully vaccinated, and vaccination rates are still below 1 per cent in many countries.  However, for Africa’s lower middle-income countries the figure is a little higher but still under 10 per cent. In comparison, over 60 per cent of the population in advanced economies is vaccinated.

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Africa’s low vaccination rates are threatening lives and livelihoods, with consequences for Africa’s recovery as well as for global economic recovery, the World Bank said.

The pricing strategy of the vaccines developed by the rich nations—home to Big Pharma has also caused concerns for many nations.

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Covid 19 vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna are high priced and most developing and poorer nations will not be able to afford the jabs, essentially leading to an overdependence of the drugs made in India.

Meanwhile, the Covid 19 pandemic has also highlighted the importance of availability of affordable medicines and vaccines and experts said that the role of India, as the world's largest vaccine manufacturer would be crucial here.

“We feel India can play a big role in this. The country is already the largest vaccine manufacturer, going ahead we need to look at ways by which India can also invest in setting up vaccine manufacturing facilities in various countries in Africa,” David Ongolo former chairman, Competition Authority of Kenya told India Narrative.