A dozen African countries are lowering the continental average for vaccination against Covid-19. Several obstacles explain the lack of injections in certain States.
Since August, the Covid-19 pandemic has picked up again. The opportunity for the World Health Organization (WHO) to take stock of the vaccination campaign. The health institution aimed, for the end of the year 2021, 20% of the African population vaccinated. But the objective of the start of the pandemic had been shifted by three quarters. A fifth of Africans should therefore have been vaccinated in September. What is it really ? Overall, the objective seems to have been achieved: 18,5% of the African population had full vaccination at the end of July. But we are far from the world average, estimated at more than 60%.
And while the WHO recommends that 70% of the population be fully vaccinated, some countries are significantly lowering the average. Among them, Burundi vaccinated only 0,1% of its population. While some states are used to lagging behind — such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo with 2,6% of vaccinated people, or Cameroon (4,5%), Malawi and Sudan — others have been reluctant to the vaccine, like Madagascar which had preferred to bet on its own anti-Covid drink. The island has only 4,5% of its population fully vaccinated. As for Mali and Burkina Faso, the coups certainly slowed down the vaccination process.
But another case surprises: that of Senegal. Barely 6,3% of the Senegalese population has indeed had injections of two doses of the anti-Covid-19 vaccine. Senegal is nevertheless recognized and congratulated for the effectiveness of its public policies in terms of prevention, whether against HIV or Ebola. Why such a lag when it comes to the Covid-19 vaccine? While in Côte d'Ivoire, the vaccination rate rises to 25%.
Problem of logistics, information and mistrust
A discrepancy that is all the more surprising since Senegal quickly positioned itself to become a regional hub for local vaccine production. But the controversy over the side effects of AstraZeneca's vaccine quickly led people to be skeptical. Many fake news appeared and rumors of a Western conspiracy were born, blaming the whole vaccination campaign.
But we must also remember how Africa has been left out of vaccine deliveries. Thereby, Senegal had to deal with delivery delays for a while. Problem: even the vaccines delivered were not all used despite everything: for Africa, says the WHO, 40% of the doses received through the organization's Africa region had to be thrown in the trash.
Popular mistrust, but also logistical and coordination problems are at the heart of Senegal's concerns, which have tried to inform its citizens. But due to delivery problems and breaks in the cold chain, many vaccines had to be thrown away.
Finally, a Swiss NGO considers that the West has done too much and has no concern for "access to information and suspicion with regard to medical technologies brought by Westerners and white men, because of a memory history and perceptions of experimentation on black bodies”. So many problems that hinder vaccination throughout the African continent.