COVID-19 vaccine inequity in African low-income countries

Front Public Health. 2023 Mar 6:11:1087662. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2023.1087662. eCollection 2023.


Equitable access and utilization of the COVID-19 vaccine is the main exit strategy from the pandemic. This paper used proceedings from the Second Extraordinary Think-Tank conference, which was held by the Health Economics and Policy Unit at the Kamuzu University of Health Sciences in collaboration with the Malawi Ministry of Health, complemented by a review of literature. We found disparities in COVID-19 vaccine coverage among low-income countries. This is also the case among high income countries. The disparities are driven mainly by insufficient supply, inequitable distribution, limited production of the vaccine in low-income countries, weak health systems, high vaccine hesitancy, and vaccine misconceptions. COVID-19 vaccine inequity continues to affect the entire world with the ongoing risks of emergence of new COVID-19 variants, increased morbidity and mortality and social and economic disruptions. In order to reduce the COVID-19 vaccination inequality in low-income countries, there is need to expand COVAX facility, waive intellectual property rights, transform knowledge and technology acquired into vaccines, and conduct mass COVID-19 vaccination campaigns.

Keywords: COVID-19 vaccine; distribution; low-income countries; uptake; vaccine coverage; vaccine equity.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • COVID-19 Vaccines* / administration & dosage
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Developing Countries
  • Healthcare Disparities*
  • Humans


  • COVID-19 Vaccines