COVID-19 vaccine inequity: vaccine manufacturing in Africa?
by Se Eun Park, Ph.D.
COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented speed in vaccine development against the SARS-CoV-2, also known as “Operation Warp Speed” for the COVID-19 vaccine development program in the United States with USD 18 billion funding. The virus has affected over 191.7 million people (COVID-19 confirmed cases) globally with over 4.1 million deaths, as of 23 July 2021: around 75.2 million and 58.6 million confirmed cases in the Americas and Europe respectively, followed by Southeast Asia (37.2 million), Eastern Mediterranean (12 million), Africa (4.7 million) and Western Pacific (4.1 million). The COVID-19 cases in Africa look relatively lower than the other continents, but there are concerns on under-reporting of cases due to limited diagnostic of SARS-CoV-2 and suboptimal healthcare system such as non-systematic epidemic surveillance and reporting. Challenges associated with access to healthcare services by people living in remote areas of resource-limited countries may further contribute to the underestimation of disease.