Nairobi – Hundreds of people line up before dawn every morning in the grassy area outside Nairobi’s largest hospital, hoping to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Sometimes the line works fine, and sometimes the staff come back tomorrow to tell us that there is nothing available.
In the middle of the world, at an Atlanta church, two vaccinated workers spent hours waiting on Wednesday, waiting for someone to show up, listening to music on their laptops. In 6 hours, only one person walked through the door.
A dramatic contrast highlights vast disparities across the world. In wealthier countries, people can often pick and choose from several available vaccines, travel to a location close to their home, and inject themselves within minutes. Pop-up clinics, like the ones in Atlanta, bring vaccines to rural and urban areas, but generally have very few vaccines.
In developing countries, the supply is limited and uncertain. More than 3% of people in Africa are fully immunized, and health officials and citizens often know little about what is available overnight. More vaccines have been released in recent weeks, but the director of the World Health Organization in Africa said Thursday the continent will receive 25% less dose than expected by the end of the year. Like the United States.
Bidian Okoth remembers spending more than three hours in a queue at a Nairobi hospital, but was told to go home because he didn’t have enough dose. But a friend who traveled to the United States was shot “like a candy” with a vaccine of his choice shortly after arriving in the United States, he said.
“We wonder what time in the morning we should get up and take the first photo. Then you hear people choosing their vaccine. It’s great, great excess, ”he said. paddy field.
Okoth said his uncle died of COVID-19 in June and had twice given up on getting the shot due to the long queue, even though he was qualified for his age. The death shocked health advocate Okoto to request a dose for himself.
He frequently visited a hospital on his way to work, so the doctor told Okoto, “I’m sick of seeing myself,” to call him when it’s available. He was shot at the end of last month after a new vaccine donation arrived from the UK.
Despite the difficulty in persuading Americans to get vaccinated in the first place, inequalities arise when the United States prepares to provide booster shots to the majority of its population. President Joe Biden on Thursday ordered 100 million Americans, including private sector employees, to eliminate new federal vaccine requirements as the country faces an increase in COVID-19 delta mutations.
About 53% of the U.S. population is vaccinated, with an average of more than 150,000 new cases of COVID-19 per day and 1,500 deaths in the United States. In Africa, there are more than 7.9 million confirmed cases, including more than 200,000 deaths, and highly infectious delta mutants have recently increased new cases.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus argued on Wednesday that wealthy countries with high supplies of coronavirus vaccines should refrain from providing boosters until the end of the year, putting their doses available to the poorest countries. ..
John Nkengasong, director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters on Thursday that “there was not enough scientific data” to decide when to give booster shots.
“Without it, we are playing,” he said, urging countries to instead send doses to countries facing “vaccine starvation.”
Vaccines are readily available in the United States, but many are reluctant to obtain them.
In a church in northwest Atlanta, nonprofits provided free Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccines from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. without a reservation, but site manager Riley Ericsson spent most of it of the day. I was waiting in an air-conditioned room. The group contacted their neighbors and the church announced the location to its large congregation, but it was full of empty chairs.
Ericsson, with the disaster relief organization CORE, said he was not surprised by the low turnout due to low vaccination rates in the region. It was a student who introduced himself.
“Focusing on areas of low interest is kind of a result,” he said. But his conclusion was that CORE needed to spend more time in the community.
The second vaccination site run by county officials, located in downtown Atlanta, was a bit crowded around lunchtime, but not enough to cause a slight delay.
CORE Georgia Director Margaret Hero has seen an increase in vaccinations at pop-up sites in recent weeks amid an increase in COVID-19 due to delta variants and full FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine. Noted. From late March to late August, he completed more than 55,000 shots at hundreds of locations across the state, including schools and farmers’ markets. Herro also said he would visit meat packing factories and other work areas, experience high turnout and plan to focus more on those areas.
“We never think it’s time to give up,” she said.
In Nairobi, Okoth believes that a global commitment to equity is needed in vaccine delivery. This way everyone can get a basic level of immunity as soon as possible.
“If everyone gets at least the first injection, I think no one will care if someone gets six booster shots,” he said.
Tanawala reported from Atlanta.
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