…Africa represents only 3% of over 5.7 billion administered doses
THE upcoming G20 Leaders’ Summit, which will be held in Rome on October 30th and 31st, will work towards ensuring a swift international response to the pandemic by promoting an equitable and worldwide access to diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines.
It is also expected to help build up resilience to future health-related emergencies.
The meeting will focus on three broad, interconnected pillars of action: People, Planet and Prosperity.
The African Vaccine Delivery Alliance (AVDA) disclosed last Thursday that Africa had vaccinated only 177.759 million people out if its estimated 1.3 billion population as at October 21, 2021, blaming high-income countries of the world for the slow pace of equitable vaccine distribution on the continent.
Co-chair of the alliance Ayoade Alakija, in an interview with the BBC on Thursday, said some high-income countries of the world were buying more than 10 times what they needed and big pharmaceutical companies had been too greedy to share information that would spread vaccine production.
“Africa has vaccinated 177,759, 000 not because we’re looking for handouts; not because we’re poor but because there are those who choose to hedge their bets and hold the vaccines for themselves. We have tried to purchase vaccines as an African continent but high income countries have not allowed us to purchase vaccines,” Alakija said.
More than 5.7 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered globally, but only three per cent of them in Africa, and just two countries in Africa have reached the 40 per cent vaccination target per country for this year, the lowest in any region.
“That’s not because African countries don’t have the capacity or experience to roll out COVID-19 vaccines. It’s because they’ve been left behind by the rest of the world,” Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said.
For him, the longer vaccine inequity persisted, the more the virus would circulate and change, the longer the social and economic disruption would continue, and the higher the chances that more variants would emerge that could render vaccines less effective.
Alakija added that hoarding vaccines was immoral and wrong, urging leaders in high- income countries to show great political will and commitment towards equitable distribution of vaccines.
“We need politicians to understand that it is in their own interest to vaccinate the world because it would be political suicide to not do that because variants would come back. We have to fix this system, otherwise, we’re going to be in an endless cycle of this pandemic and 2022 is too soon. It’s more like 2023/2024,” she said.
New COVID-19 cases have continued to decline for the eleventh consecutive week since the third pandemic wave peaked in early July 2021. However, the observed decline has been slower than in previous waves.
Most of Africa’s reported cases are concentrated in just a few countries, with five countries accounting for half of all new cases in the past week: Ethiopia, South Africa, Angola, Nigeria and Gabon.
Generally, cases are currently trending downward in most African countries except Angola, Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and Sao Tome and Principe that reported an upward trend in the past weeks.