G20 members have received 15 times more COVID-19 vaccine doses per capita than sub-Saharan African countries, fresh analysis reveals

G20 members have received 15 times more COVID-19 vaccine doses per capita than sub-Saharan African countries, fresh analysis reveals

  • UNICEF Africa ambassadors write G20 Leaders at Rome Summit

G20 countries have received 15 times more COVID-19 vaccine doses per capita than countries in sub-Saharan Africa*, according to a new analysis.

The analysis, conducted by science analytics companyAirfinity, exposes the severity of vaccine inequity between high-income and low-income countries, especially in Africa.

It found that doses delivered to G20 countries per capita are:

  • 15times higher than doses delivered per capita tosub-Saharan African countries;
  • 15times higher than doses delivered per capita to low-income countries;
  • 3times higher than doses delivered per capita in all other countries combined.

African countries in particular have largely been left without access to COVID-19 vaccines. Less than 5 per cent of the African population are fully vaccinated, leaving many countries at high-risk of further outbreaks.

As leaders prepare to meet for the G20 Summit in Rome this weekend, 48 UNICEF Africa ambassadors and supporters from across the continent have united in an open letter.  They are calling for leaders to honour their promises to urgently deliver doses, writing that “the stakes could not be higher.”

The letter’s signatories, including Angelique Kidjo, Arlo Parks, Davido, Tendai Mtawarira, Femi Kuti, Tony Elumelu, Ramla Ali, Kate Henshaw, Winnie Byanyima and others, are calling on leaders to donate the pledged vaccines by December, along with the necessary resources to turn the vaccines into vaccinations.

“Every day Africa remains unprotected, pressure builds on fragile health systems where there can be one midwife for hundreds of mothers and babies,” the letter reads.“As the pandemic causes a spike in child malnutrition, resources are diverted from life-saving health services and childhood immunization. Children already orphaned risk losing grandparents. Disaster looms for sub-Saharan African families, four out of five of whom rely on the informal sector for their daily bread. Poverty threatens children’s return to school, protection from violence and child marriage.”

According to WHO, some 80,000 to 180,000 healthcare workers globally are estimated to have died from COVID-19 between January 2020 and May 2021. Less than 1 in 10 healthcare workers in Africa have been fully vaccinated and more than 128,000 have been infected with the virus. The agency has also found only one in seven COVID-19 infections are detected in Africa due to limited testing, meaning the true number is likely much higher.

“Saving lives in Africa starts by saving the lives of the life-savers,” said Fore. “Too many communities on the African continent were already grappling with stressed healthcare systems. They cannot go into another year of this global crisis enduring so many preventable deaths and prolonged sickness.”

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