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Zambian COVID-19 Doctor Sees Patients Die With Less Than 1% Of His Country Vaccinated

A nurse prepares to administer the COVID-19 vaccine at the University Teaching Hospital UTH in Lusaka, Zambia. (Xinhua/Martin/Getty Images)
A nurse prepares to administer the COVID-19 vaccine at the University Teaching Hospital UTH in Lusaka, Zambia. (Xinhua/Martin/Getty Images)

The contrasts are startling. There are enough COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate all eligible adults, teens and adolescents, in the U.S. several times over — yet health officials here have to launch ad campaigns, even knock on doors, to convince people to get a shot.

In other parts of the world, the vaccine won’t come for months or years. In Zambia, only 0.4% of the population has been fully vaccinated, about 68,000 people out of nearly 18 million.

Host Robin Young talks to Bassim Birkland, who teaches medicine at the University of Zambia in Lusaka where he also treats patients. She also talks to Dr. Vanessa Kerry, director of Global Public Policy and Social Change at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of Seed Global Health.

For more information on Seed Global Health, click here

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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