Why are COVID vaccination rates still low in some countries?


Why are COVID-19 vaccination rates still low in some countries?

Limited supplies remain an issue, but experts say other challenges now include unpredictable supplies, weak health systems and hesitant vaccinations.

Most countries with low vaccination rates are in Africa. According to Phionah Atuhebwe, a staffer at the World Health Organization’s regional office for Africa, 13 African countries had less than 5% of their population fully vaccinated by the end of February.

Other countries with extremely low vaccination rates are Yemen, Syria, Haiti and Papua New Guinea.

For most of last year, developing countries have been plagued by supply shortages. Rich countries hoarded doses and many countries did not have the facilities to make their own vaccines. COVAX — an initiative to distribute vaccines evenly around the world — has stalled in delivering vaccines.

Many rich countries had planned to donate doses once their own populations were vaccinated, but the advent of the Delta and Omicron variants spurred booster campaigns that further delayed those plans. Vaccine manufacturers have largely refused to share their formulas or technology, further limiting production.

Other vaccination setbacks have also occurred.

“The main problem in countries with low immunization rates is poor infrastructure for distributing vaccines,” said Dina Borzekowski, director of the Global Health Initiative at the University of Maryland. “What’s missing are best practices for providing vaccines to populations that typically live without securely managed sanitation systems or reliable power supplies.”

Donated vaccines are sometimes delivered just before their expiration date, giving health officials little time to distribute them, says MSF’s Sinhye Ha.

Some countries also lack materials like syringes to inject the syringes or ways to keep the vaccines at the right temperature.

Vaccination hesitancy, fueled by misinformation and distrust of governments, has also contributed to low immunization uptake in some countries, Atuhebwe says.


The AP answers your questions about the coronavirus in this series. Send them to: [email protected] Read more here:

Does omicron bring us closer to herd immunity against COVID-19?

Is it possible to get COVID for a long time after being infected with omicron?

How will the world decide when the pandemic is over?


Comments are closed.