Western countries have 'hoarded' Covid vaccines. Africa is being left behind as cases surge

Updated 1315 GMT (2115 HKT) February 5, 2021

(CNN)African nations are being left behind in obtaining Covid-19 vaccines as richer countries stockpile vaccines and prioritize their own populations -- despite a surge in cases and a new variant affecting the continent.

On Monday, South Africa took delivery of its first million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, with another 500,000 expected later this month. It will begin inoculating health workers in February, the health ministry told CNN, becoming one of the first countries in Africa to receive large doses of the Covid-19 vaccines.
South Africa has also ordered another 20 million vaccines through a deal with Pfizer/BioNTech and expects to purchase another 9 million from Johnson & Johnson, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize told a local media channel on Monday.
Workers load South Africa's first Covid-19 vaccines as they arrive at OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg on February 1
Seychelles was the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to start vaccinating its population, using doses of China's Sinopham vaccine -- with a target to be the first to have 70% coverage among adults, according to a media release.
The island of Mauritius also started vaccinating frontline workers on January 26, after India donated 100,000 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines.
In December, Guinea, in West Africa, ordered 55 doses of the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine and gave the first doses to 25 officials, according to The Associated Press.
In North Africa, Morocco and Algeria also recently began immunization programs, according to Our World in Data, an independent statistics website from Oxford University's Global Change Data Lab.
In comparison to other regions, Africa was slow to start and is likely to be slow in catching up, health officials said.
Emerging markets like South Africa have also found themselves paying more than their wealthier counterparts.

Paying double

South Africa is the country worst affected by Covid-19 in Africa, recording nearly 1.5 million cases to date and more than 45,000 deaths. Its health ministry told CNN global competition forced it to purchase the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine from the Serum Institute of India (SII) at nearly double the price -- $5.25 per dose, according to Reuters -- paid by other wealthier countries.