The director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that the continent may not see vaccines until the second quarter of 2021.
Africa’s top public health official said “it will be extremely terrible to see” rich countries receiving COVID-19 vaccines as African countries do without them, especially as news outbreak begins on the continent of 1.3 billion people.
As the world watches the start of mass vaccinations in Britain, the director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention John Nkengasong on Thursday warned that Africa may not see vaccines until the second quarter of 2021.
Nkengasong called it a “moral question” and urged the United Nations to convene a special session to discuss the ethical and equitable distribution of vaccines in order to avoid “this North-South mistrust of vaccines, which is a common good ”.
His remarks come a day after a report released by the People’s Vaccine Alliance warned that as many as 90% of the population in dozens of poorer countries will not benefit from the coronavirus vaccine next year.
In its report, the alliance said rich countries had racked up enough doses to immunize their entire population nearly three times, leaving 67 poor countries only enough to immunize one in 10 people.
COVID-19 will not be defeated only in the West, he said, and he aimed at “today’s dialogue of suspicion” as rich countries buy vaccines “in excess of their needs while we in Africa are still grappling with the COVAX facility, “the multinational initiative designed to provide at least some vaccines to less developed countries.
Africa will not receive enough COVAX vaccines to meet the goal of vaccinating 60% of the population in order to achieve herd immunity, Nkengasong said, and called on countries with excessive doses to give them to COVAX or countries in need.
“We have to show global cooperation, global solidarity,” he said. “The time has come to translate these powerful words into action.”
Africa’s 54 countries now have more than 2.3 million confirmed infections.
In a statement, Steve Cockburn, Head of Economic and Social Justice at Amnesty International, said: “Rich countries have clear human rights obligations not only to refrain from any action that could harm the access to vaccines elsewhere, but also to cooperate and provide assistance to countries in need. he.”
According to Oxfam, Canada has purchased enough doses to immunize its population five times, while South Korea, another leading global economy, has purchased enough vaccine for 88% of its population of over 50 million people. .