Johannesburg, 14 July: As many countries in the north start to open up for summer holidays, with lockdown restrictions being eased, South Africa, and most of Africa are going back into harder lockdowns. The reason for these starkly different realities is in large measure due to unequal access to vaccines.
With the third wave, driven by the more transmissible Delta variant, ravaging South Africa and other parts of Africa, what we need now is equal access to vaccines.
The latest COVID 19 vaccination data show that 25 percent of the global population has received at least one vaccination dose, but the numbers tell a story of gross inequalities between rich countries in the global north and the global south. At the top end of the spectrum is the European Union with 53% of its population having received one vaccination and at the bottom end is Africa with just 3% of the population that have been vaccinated. Six percent of South Africa’s population has received one vaccine dose, compared to the US where 55% of the population has been vaccinated.