COVID19 Vaccine: The Reality of Equal Access and what it means for countries across the continent

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We believe there is an intrinsic relationship between the rigorous COVID19 testing done and the vaccine rollout. The ability to detect the number of active cases through testing will  determine how extensive the vaccine rollout will be. Currently the African Union has a target of 20 million tests by November 2020 and as it stands the total tests done across the continent stands at 16.2 million. It might be a close call and if Africa makes it, it will demonstrate its overall regional capacity of dealing with this global pandemic. This will also set the tone for the future when administering the vaccine.

Almost a week ago, the Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that, “We will have a vaccine by the end of this year or early next year” indicating the urgency to prepare for what rolling out the vaccine will look like across the continent.

The question is whether this is going to be a case of equal access or free access for the COVID19 vaccine across the continent?

As it stands only two countries in the continent are manufacturing  vaccines, South Africa and Egypt. In the case of  Egypt, it is  manufacturing a vaccine produced in China.  Eight countries have committed to pre-ordering vaccines as the rest have qualified by COVA-AMX for the low-cost vaccines. China also recently joined COVAX, a sign of commitment and support towards the global cause.

Why is it important to present a vaccine analysis now?

As the “scramble for COVID-19 vaccine” continues to intensify, initiatives such as COVAX-AMC are working to ensure equal access for the vaccines. The WHO has even gone a step further in ensuring that, “No self-financing participant will receive doses of vaccine to cover greater than 20% of its population until all self-financing participants have either also been offered doses in an amount to achieve 20% coverage or hit their elected quantity (if lower than 20%).” However, it is important to understand just how much African countries will have to spend on these vaccines. As it stands no African country will be receiving the vaccines for free. Countries will be under pressure to subsidize the vaccine when administering them at the local level, they will have to pay out of pocket. It is reported that 167 countries are now part of the COVAX-AMC making up about two-thirds of the global population. This seems inclusive but  a deeper analysis is needed to understand the burden of cost African countries will incur.

With some studies suggesting vaccinating 60% of its population which is said to be “the estimated minimum requirement for herd immunity” and the WHO suggesting an initial coverage of 3% and then 20% it is important to take a look at just how much African countries are  looking to spend.

Using an inclusive $10.55 cost per dosage, factoring logistics and other costing  as stipulated by the WHO, African countries need to anticipate how much additional funds will be required along with the current COVID-19 related stimulus that has been injected into the economies. An estimated $5 billion will be needed for a 20% population coverage for a 2 dose regimen for African countries (excluding countries that have pre-ordered).

Take a look at our data below and let us know your reflections and suggestions for further lines of enquiry.



To find out how Development Reimagined can help you, your organisation or Government during the COVID-19 outbreak please email the team at .

Special thanks go to Rosie Wigmore, Rosie Flowers, Samu Ngwenya and Jinyu Chen for their work on the graphic and collecting/analysing the underlying data.

The data was collated from a range of sources including: government websites and media reports, the IMF policy tracker; the US Chamber COVID19 Dashboard; Our World in Data, Africa CDC and Worldometer. Our methodology is entirely in-house, based on analysis of spending, social distancing, income categories and other trends.

If you spot any gaps or have any enquiries, please send your feedback to us at, we will aim to respond asap.

October 2020


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