The COVID-19 pandemic is not over in the United States of America and it is not over in any portion of the world. Nowhere is this sentiment more true than on the continent of Africa. Within the last week, the continent has seen a 44% jump in COVID-19 infections and a 20% increase in COVID-19 related deaths.
"While the numbers in Africa themselves ... don't represent a massive proportion of global cases, we know that diagnosis in Africa is not at the same level of intensity. So when you see the shift in trend, the trend is concerning," Dr. Mike Ryan of the World Health Organization.
Making matters worse, countries across the continent struggle to gain access to vaccines. In late May, WHO indicated that several African nations needed approximately 20 million vaccine doses combined to ensure another outbreak of the coronavirus. However, spars vaccine sharing program funding has left the continent struggling to get more doses.
Earlier this month, President Joe Biden laid out plans for America's involvement in the COVAX vaccine sharing program. Thus far, approximately 18 million vaccines have been distributed. Seven million were sent to Asia and six million were sent to South and Central America. Unfortunately, only five million were sent to Africa.
"When you look at the proportion of vaccines in the world that are going to Africa, then that trend is even more concerning," Ryan added.
"The lowest number of vaccines in the world are currently in Africa."
MSN reports that less than 2% of the world's vaccine supply has been sent to Africa. Furthermore, 60 vaccines have been delivered per every 100 residents in a high-income country. In contrast, one vaccine has been delivered per every 100 residents in a low-income country.
"That is a brutal reality, and there are people dying today who should not have to die because they haven't been protected with vaccines," Ryan explained.
In addition to COVID-19 vaccines, patients across the continent are in need of oxygen and hospital beds. Unlike vaccines, these resources are available and other countries are able to distribute them to nations in need. However, they're just not doing it.
"We have these tools at hand, we're just not using them and they're not in the right hands around the world," Maria Van Kerkhove of WHO said.
"I think all of us need to reflect on that."