South Africa has been hammered by the Delta variant while waiting on tens of millions of ordered doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine—and meanwhile, shots “filled and finished” in-country are being exported to Europe, The New York Times reports.
Lack of leverage: Many Western countries enjoy contracts that allow them to hold onto domestically made doses but not South Africa, which waived its right to restrict export vaccine doses—reflecting “a power imbalance between a giant company and a desperate country.”
The South African firm Aspen Pharmacare says it wanted to keep more doses in South Africa, blaming the holdup on quality concerns over J&J jabs produced in Baltimore.
- Some 4 million of South Africa’s 60 million residents are fully vaccinated.
- Overall, African Union countries have received “a sliver” of doses they have ordered, and ~2% of Africans are fully vaccinated.
Misinformation also contributes to low uptake, the Malawi Red Cross Society warned, urging the country’s journalists not to amplify conspiracy theories as the country fights its third wave of cases, Nyasa Times reports.