If 2020 was the year of the coronavirus pandemic, then 2021 is shaping up to be the year of the vaccine. Yet rightful optimism about the arrival of coronavirus vaccines belies significant barriers to vaccine availability and access in large parts of the world. Familiar patterns of global inequities are resurfacing as the global vaccination drive gathers momentum. Moreover, intensifying geopolitical competition, especially between China and the United States, is impeding multilateral cooperation on critical issues including public health.
Poorer and less influential countries, especially those in Africa, are caught in the middle—facing obstacles to accessing vaccines, with likely negative effects on their prospects for a smooth post-pandemic recovery.
Surveying the Economic Damage
African countries need access to large-scale vaccinations to move to a post-pandemic normal. As in other regions, the pandemic has severely disrupted…