A healthcare worker administers a Covid-19 vaccine to a woman in Johannesburg, South Africa, December 04, 2021.
Sumaya Hisham | Reuters
Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Haiti are the least vaccinated countries in the world against Covid-19, data has shown.
Just 0.05% of Burundi’s population has received at least one Covid vaccination dose, according to statistics compiled by Our World in Data.
In DR Congo, 0.4% of people have been given at least one dose, while in Haiti that proportion of the population rises to around 1%.
In low-income countries, just 5.5% of people have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to Our World in Data. In high-income countries, 72% of the population has been fully vaccinated with at least two doses.
Countries in which civil unrest and conflict are ongoing are also among the world’s least vaccinated, with violent combat making it difficult for vaccines to reach their general populations.
In Yemen, where civil war has been raging since 2014, less than 2% of the population has been vaccinated against Covid. South Sudan, where disputes over power-sharing are still rife even after its civil war officially ended in 2018, also has a vaccination rate of around 2%.
Many African nations have low vaccination rates, including Chad, Madagascar and Tanzania, whose immunization rates range from 1.5% to 4%.
South Africa, where the highly transmissible omicron strain of the virus was first identified last year, has vaccinated less than one-third of its population.
Meanwhile, fewer than one in three people in Caribbean nations Jamaica, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have been vaccinated against Covid.
In October, the WHO set a target for countries to vaccinate 70% of their populations by mid-2022, but many countries are falling behind. Last week, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Covid could cease to be a global health emergency in 2022 if certain actions — including ensuring equitable access to vaccines — were taken.
Mesfin Teklu Tessema, senior director of health at humanitarian aid organization the International Rescue Committee, told CNBC that vaccine inequity “only perpetuates the pandemic.”
“Every infection increases the risk of severe diseases and hospitalization for the most vulnerable, as well as mutation and thus the likelihood of new variants,” he said via email.
“To save lives and protect overburdened health systems, we need to build a global wall of immunity through vaccination. To do so, we must prioritize access for refugees and others experiencing humanitarian crisis who live beyond the reach of government services.”