In late December, the West African nation of Guinea injected 25 of its senior officials with doses of the Russian Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine. Unshaken by safety concerns, national leaders took to state TV to celebrate.“We are the guinea pigs,” one said.Nearly a month later, there has still not been a single dose of a licensed Western vaccine administered on the continent of Africa – even as roughly 60 million doses have been given worldwide.This drastic disparity represents an outcome long feared by public health experts. It also underscores the colossal challenge ahead for the global coalition, known as COVAX, scrambling to secure vaccine doses for the world’s poorest nations.“The price of not solving the vaccine distribution problem internationally will be measured in lives,” said Thomas Bollyky, director of the global health program at the Council on Foreign Relations.Even before the arrival of vaccines, the spread of the coronavirus laid bare the advantages wealthy nations enjoy in securing such critical resources as hospital ventilators and personal protective equipment for medical workers.The same dynamic has played out in the global race to amass vaccine doses.A vendor sells protective face masks on the street in Bamako, Mali, on Jan. 9, 2021.Annie Risemberg

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