Commentary: Ethnocentric Considerations in the Allocation of Vaccines in Africa


  •   Ishmael D. Norman


This paper suggests that, just as the world community is concerned with ‘vaccine nationalism’ in the acquisition and distribution of vaccines, it should also be concerned with ‘vaccine tribalism’ in the respective African nations. This call is made because, African nations do not have impressive records of ethical distribution and apportionment of scarce resources, be it the delivery of healthcare services, medical doctors, or the national wealth, jobs, and the siting of national projects. Ethnocentric considerations, cronyism, big-man-ism, power, often trump ethical values of beneficence, non-malfeasance, equity, and fairness.

Keywords: Africa; Ethical Vaccine Distribution; Vaccine Nationalism; Vaccine Tribalism


Akazili, J., Adjuik, M., Chatio, S., Kanyomse, E., Hodgson, A., Aikins, M., and Gyapong, J. What are the Technical and Allocative Efficiencies of Public Health Centres in Ghana? Ghana Med J 42(4):149-155, 2008.

Kyle Ferguson, K., and Caplan, A. Love thy Neighbor? Allocating vaccine in a world of competing obligations, 2020.

Abbas, Muhammed Zaheer. 2020. Practical Implications of ‘vaccine nationalism’: A short-sighted and risky approach in reponse to Covid-19., Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia, pgs. 1-20, 2020.

AstraZeneca, “AstraZeneca takes next steps towards broad equitable access to Oxford University’s potential Covid-19 vaccine,” press release 4 June 2020;

Emanuel, E. J., Persad, C., Kern, A., Buchanan, A., Fabre, C., Halliday, D., et al. An Ethical Framework for Global Vaccine Allocation. Science, 369, (6509), 1309 – 1312. DOI: 10.1126/science.abe2803, . September 11, pgs. 1309-1312, 2020.

W.H.O. “More than 150 countries engaged in Covid-19 vaccine global access facility,” press release. 15 July 2020.

Kruger, J., and Dunning, D. Unskilled and Unaware of it: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 77(6):1121-1134. DOI: 10.1037//0022-3514.77.6.1121, 1999.

WHO, COVID: WHO says 20 percent of Africans to be vaccinated by end of year. Africanews and


Download data is not yet available.


How to Cite
Norman, I. D. (2021). Commentary: Ethnocentric Considerations in the Allocation of Vaccines in Africa. European Journal of Medical and Health Science, 3(2), 84-86.

Most read articles by the same author(s)