America emerged from the pandemic earlier this year in large part because we had access to safe and effective vaccines. Unfortunately, other countries, particularly in Africa, have struggled to procure reliable doses, and COVID-19 cases remain high as a result. America should ramp up efforts to donate vaccines and help distribute life-saving treatment to these nations. It’s not only the ethical thing to do; it would also help America’s global prestige.
The pandemic in Africa is now worse than it’s ever been. A quarter-million cases were reported on the continent last week, and the rate of infections is not slowing. One of the drivers of this surge is Africa’s poor record on inoculations. Only 1 percent of Africans have been vaccinated, a number that is staggeringly low compared with more developed countries. For context, a live vaccine counter operated by “Our World in Data” shows that nearly 50 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated.
Low vaccination rates make it challenging to prevent runaway infections. For example, last April, a second wave of COVID-19 cases in India battered the population there. At the time, India halted exports of vaccines to African countries to focus on its own outbreak. Yet despite the COVID-19 bouts, high costs, and vaccine-rollout difficulties, India still boasts vaccination numbers between five and 20 times the African average.
National Review is an American conservative editorial magazine, focusing on news and commentary pieces on political, social, and cultural affairs.