WASHINGTON — As death rates spike across Africa and vaccine rates remain the lowest in the world, Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) have sent a letter to President Biden urging the administration to share more vaccines with the continent, which is facing a deadly third wave. So far, roughly two percent of Africans are fully vaccinated from COVID-19 compared to nearly 41 percent of North Americans. Earlier this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that African deaths increased by 80 percent over the previous four weeks.
“We urge your Administration to donate 100 million vaccines to Africa above current donations and encourage other countries to donate an additional 100 million as quickly as possible,” the letter reads. “African nations are experiencing an increasingly urgent COVID crisis and need at least 200 million vaccine doses by the end of September to slow the spread and prevent more needless deaths. The longer it takes to vaccinate the world, the more variants we will see and the longer this pandemic will continue. We must commit to donating more doses now and support their effective and equitable distribution.”
According to a White House fact sheet, the US has donated more than 110 million globally, roughly 20 million of which have gone to countries in Africa. The WHO has said that 200 million doses are needed so that the continent can vaccinate 10 percent of its population by the end of September 2021.
Organizations, including The ONE Campaign, have called on President Biden and other world leaders to share more doses with African countries. “COVID-19 is a cancer for Africa and wealthy countries are hoarding the only remedy,” said Edwin Ikhuoria, Africa Executive Director, The ONE Campaign. “In order to truly end the pandemic anywhere and stop the spread of variants, we must defeat COVID-19 everywhere. Wealthy nations must do more to increase global access to vaccines as soon as possible. Lives and livelihoods depend on it.”
The full letter is available here.
The CBC’s letter joins a chorus of health experts and economic and political leaders calling for the US to urgently invest more in global vaccination efforts and take bold action to lead the global response to COVID-19.