African governments are playing catch-up in vaccinating their populations against the coronavirus, with just 12% of the continent’s 1.3 billion people fully inoculated so far.
Some of their efforts have been woefully inadequate, with the World Health Organization listing 20 of Africa’s 54 nations that are at high risk of missing a target of dosing 70% of their populations by mid year — the rough threshold it says is needed to end the acute phase of the pandemic. Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, South Sudan, Cameroon and Madagascar are some of the biggest laggards, having administered less than five shots per 100 of their people. Eritrea has yet to administer any.
The reasons for the slow takeup range from a dearth of shots, vaccination sites, health personnel and syringes, to hesitancy and complacency.