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Vaccess: a new kind of inequality

I have had news that my sister has been ‘called up’ for her Covid-19 vaccination. She is healthy and fit, has no co-morbidities and certainly not elderly. I am delighted for her, but kinda alarmed that she gets hers before my Mum, who is approaching 80. My sister is in England; my Mum is in South Africa.

The Brits have really got the vaccination programme right. Hats off to them.

But then they have the National Health Service, an amazing network of healthcare services and data (healthcare is free to all!). People are taken care of when they get sick. It is no wonder they are all registered.

In South Africa, even those of us who have the means to pay a small fortune for private health insurance, are never really sure what we would get if we were to fall ill or be injured. And then there are tens of millions of South Africans who are locked out of even the most basic care because they do not have the money to pay for it.

Pregnant women, babies, elderly people, people with all kinds of illnesses and afflictions, from TB to diabetes to HIV. If it wasn’t for the foreign-funded public healthcare sector in SA there would hardly be space to bury the dead.

Those of us who can afford to keep buying multiple tickets for the national lottery for survival… and we all wait for our vaccinations.

I was interested to see the blow on The Conversation:

Interested in vaccine rollouts across Africa? Here’s a map to guide you

Covid-19 vaccination is slower on the African continent than in high income countries. Shutterstock

Benjamin Kagina, University of Cape Town

Most developed countries are in the advanced stages of Covid-19 vaccination rollouts. But a large number of developing countries, including most across Africa, are still at the early stages, mainly due to a shortage of shots.

African countries are trying to overcome the shortfall by using a multi-pronged approach to secure vaccines. This includes sourcing them through:

  • the COVAX facility. This is a global initiative aimed at equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines. It’s led by global health organisations including Gavi, the vaccine alliance, the World Health Organisation, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations;
  • the Covid-19 African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, which was established by the African Union;
  • bilateral agreements with the manufacturers, and
  • donations from other countries.

To help you keep track of the progress of Covid-19 vaccine rollouts in African countries, we have developed a map that will be updated daily, showing how many people have been vaccinated across the continent.

Benjamin Kagina, Senior Research Officer, Vaccines For Africa Initiative, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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