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Emerging SARS-CoV-2 Variants, Inequitable Vaccine Distribution, and Implications for COVID-19 Control in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Unit of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Department of Primary Health Care Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Zimbabwe, Harare P.O. Box MP167, Zimbabwe
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ICAP at Columbia University, Harare P.O. Box MP167, Zimbabwe
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School of Health Systems & Public Health, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa
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Chemical Pathology Unit, Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Zimbabwe, Harare P.O. Box MP167, Zimbabwe
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School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth PO1 2DY, UK
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School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG8 1BB, UK
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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, National University of Science and Technology, Bulawayo P.O. Box AC 939, Zimbabwe
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Roger Frutos
COVID 2022, 2(3), 341-349; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid2030023
Received: 16 February 2022 / Revised: 8 March 2022 / Accepted: 8 March 2022 / Published: 10 March 2022
(This article belongs to the Topic Burden of COVID-19 in Different Countries)
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, four SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern have emerged, which have shifted the clinical and epidemiological characteristics of the disease. Of concern is the impact of the emerging variants on COVID-19 vaccination programmes, with vaccination perceived as a key global pandemic control strategy. Variants of concern can reduce the effectiveness of the currently available vaccines, shift herd immunity thresholds, and promote wider vaccine inequities as richer countries hoard vaccines for booster shots for their populations without accounting for the needs of the underdeveloped countries of sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, Africa lags far behind the rest of the world, with most sub-Saharan Africa countries still to reach 50% vaccination of their eligible populations against global herd immunity thresholds of 70–90%. As long as the vaccination gap between sub-Saharan Africa and the rest of the world persists, SARS-CoV-2 will most likely persist as a significant global health threat, with continued emergence of variants of concern. Therefore, strategies to ensure wider reach of different types of vaccines on the African continent are urgently required alongside fighting vaccine hesitancy and logistical barriers to access for the marginalized populations. Sub-Saharan Africa must look for opportunities to manufacture vaccines on the continent and enhance genomic sequencing capacity as key pandemic-control strategies. View Full-Text
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2 variants; COVID-19; vaccine equity SARS-CoV-2 variants; COVID-19; vaccine equity
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MDPI and ACS Style

Murewanhema, G.; Dzinamarira, T.; Chingombe, I.; Mapingure, M.P.; Mukwenha, S.; Chitungo, I.; Herrera, H.; Madziva, R.; Ngwenya, S.; Musuka, G. Emerging SARS-CoV-2 Variants, Inequitable Vaccine Distribution, and Implications for COVID-19 Control in Sub-Saharan Africa. COVID 2022, 2, 341-349. https://doi.org/10.3390/covid2030023

AMA Style

Murewanhema G, Dzinamarira T, Chingombe I, Mapingure MP, Mukwenha S, Chitungo I, Herrera H, Madziva R, Ngwenya S, Musuka G. Emerging SARS-CoV-2 Variants, Inequitable Vaccine Distribution, and Implications for COVID-19 Control in Sub-Saharan Africa. COVID. 2022; 2(3):341-349. https://doi.org/10.3390/covid2030023

Chicago/Turabian Style

Murewanhema, Grant, Tafadzwa Dzinamarira, Innocent Chingombe, Munyaradzi P. Mapingure, Solomon Mukwenha, Itai Chitungo, Helena Herrera, Roda Madziva, Solwayo Ngwenya, and Godfrey Musuka. 2022. "Emerging SARS-CoV-2 Variants, Inequitable Vaccine Distribution, and Implications for COVID-19 Control in Sub-Saharan Africa" COVID 2, no. 3: 341-349. https://doi.org/10.3390/covid2030023

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