The problem with Africa's sluggish vaccine rollout
Share this article:
The Africa Travel Recovery, Opportunity & Risks Research Brief by Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics Company, revealed that for travel to recover in Africa, speedy vaccination rollouts are critical.
The report, written exclusively for Africa Travel Week, found that most countries on the continent lagged behind many "advanced economies". It found that "countries that manage to quickly vaccinate their populations will be in a better position to lift restrictions and stimulate tourism growth".
However, if countries don't make a move on the vaccine rollout, the destination will face longer restrictions and delay their travel rebound.
The research found that measures such as additional testing and tracing will be essential to help facilitate the revival of the travel sector in those countries with slower vaccination rollouts.
The struggle doesn't lie with shoddy governments dragging their feet, but vaccine doses not being evenly distributed.
According to the report, the high doses ordered by developed countries such as the UK and Canada made it hard for lower-income countries to access the available vaccines if they are not redistributed.
"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," the report emphasised.
On Monday, President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa announced that if wealthy nations hogged Covid-19 shots while millions in poor countries died waiting for them it would amount to "vaccine apartheid".
Reuters reported that South Africa and India have been pushing for a waiver on some intellectual property rights for vaccines and medicines at the World Trade Organisation.
At present, South Africa is one of the African countries that administered the least amount of vaccines. As of May 11, the country administered 414 372.
Thankfully, initiatives like COVAX offer some hope.
For example, Ghana, the first country to receive vaccines through the programme, administered 420 000 doses, covering 60% of the targeted population in the Greater Accra region in two weeks.
Seychelles should see 70% of its population vaccinated in 2021. The destination reopened its borders to all countries except South Africa on March 25.
Around 70% of Morocco’s population is set to be vaccinated by the end of 2022.