It’s do or die on dose sharing for Africa, says WHO regional director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)
It’s do or die on dose sharing for Africa, says WHO regional director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)

Africa's bleak vaccine roll-out and the dire consequences for travel

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Jun 11, 2021

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Travel in Africa may take a massive knock if destinations do not speed up their vaccination process.

According to the World Health Organization regional officer for Africa, 47 of Africa’s 54 countries, nearly 90% of the continent, were set to miss the September target of vaccinating 10% of their people. That's unless they receive 225 million more doses.

Only 2% of the continent’s nearly 1.3 billion people have received one dose, and only 9.4 million have been fully vaccinated. With Covid-19 cases on the rise, it could further impact African countries’ domestic and regional tourism.

The impact

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional director for Africa, said it was “do or die on dose sharing for Africa”.

“We need to ensure that the vaccines that we have are not wasted because every dose is precious. Countries that are lagging behind in their roll-out need to step up vaccination efforts,” said Moeti.

What can Africa do

According to The‌ ‌Africa‌ ‌Travel‌ ‌Recovery,‌ ‌Opportunity‌ ‌&‌ ‌Risks‌ ‌Research‌ ‌Brief by‌ ‌Tourism‌ ‌Economics,‌ ‌an‌ ‌ Oxford‌ ‌Economics‌ ‌Company, speedy vaccination roll-outs‌ ‌were critical if travel were to recover.‌ ‌ ‌

The‌ ‌report,‌ ‌written‌ ‌exclusively‌ ‌for‌ ‌Africa‌ ‌Travel‌ ‌Week and published in May,‌ ‌found‌ ‌that‌ ‌most‌ ‌countries‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌continent‌ ‌lagged‌ ‌behind‌ ‌many‌ ‌“advanced‌ ‌economies”.‌‌

‌“Countries‌ ‌that‌ ‌manage‌ to‌ ‌quickly‌ ‌vaccinate‌ ‌their‌ ‌populations‌ ‌will‌ ‌be‌ ‌in‌ ‌a‌ ‌better‌ ‌position‌ ‌to‌ ‌lift‌ ‌restrictions‌ ‌and‌ ‌stimulate‌ ‌tourism‌ ‌growth,” the report said.

“Travel‌ ‌demand‌ ‌will‌ ‌remain‌ ‌weakened‌ ‌for‌ ‌countries‌ ‌with‌ ‌lower‌ ‌vaccination‌ ‌rates‌ ‌as‌ ‌some‌ ‌restrictions‌ ‌on‌ ‌international‌ ‌flows‌ ‌will‌ ‌linger,‌ ‌even‌ ‌if‌ ‌other‌ ‌measures‌ ‌are‌ ‌introduced.”‌ ‌

Help on the way

According to AP, the Group of Seven nations will commit to sharing at least 1 billion coronavirus shots with the world, with half coming from the US and 100 million from the UK.

This means that some African countries could receive vaccines for their citizens.

The help from wealthy destinations may be what Africa needs to survive the impact of Covid-19.

“The tide is starting to turn. We are now seeing wealthy nations beginning to turn promises into action,” added Moeti.

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