The second wave of COVID-19 has taken a toll on most African States, leaving residents devastated. Countries like South Africa have confirmed exceedingly high cases, more so as the new variant of the novel virus is highly contagious. Economies have deteriorated, and death cases have increased, living family members broke. Though countries have employed Draconian measures to contain the virus, the only hope left is acquiring vaccines from other nations.
However, the developing countries are having a challenge accessing the vaccines. Some of these countries cannot afford the vaccines because the rich countries have pre-ordered the extra supplies in advance. Therefore, the future is not entirely promising for underdeveloped countries as the virus knows no boundaries as it keeps spreading like wildfire.
Stop Hoarding Vaccines
On Tuesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa called on the developed countries to stop stockpiling surplus COVID-19 vaccines. He urged them to share the extra supplies with the poorer nations who were on the verge of drowning in corona infections. He also demanded that global production of the vaccines be shared equally among nations.
Unfortunately, Africa has about 1.3 billion people, with the most populous countries, yet it cannot get a fair share of the vaccine. Since most African states have not secured the vaccines, they have not begun the vaccination programs. And the immunization process is a significant step at this time of the infections are surging.
President Ramaphosa, who chairs the African Union, demanded the countries who had hoarded the vaccines’ extra supplies to release them. This happens at a time when South Africa has recorded exceedingly high cases. And Mr. Ramaphosa is not pleased about the situation, especially as it is his nation. He raised the issue during a virtual meeting of the World Economic Forum.
“The rich countries of the world went out and acquired large doses,” he told a virtual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF). “Some even acquired up to four times what their population needs, to the exclusion of other countries.”
Will Africa Access the Shots?
Though many controversies have arisen concerning vaccines’ distribution, the African Union has assured African states that they will receive the vaccines. The Union confirmed that it had secured about 270 million of the shots for the continent this month. The doses would come in handy when combined with the 600 million doses from COVAX.
African countres expect to receive the COVAX vaccines to arrive this year. Meanwhile, Europe and American states have already kicked off their immunization process. It is quite discriminatory that as Africa’s vaccination campaigns are still on delay, Europe has secured about 2.3 billion vaccines for its 450 million population. When the media asked Britains health minister Matt Hancock to comment on President Ramaphosa’s remarks, he stated he took an oath to protect the British people. Despite Britain signing large vaccine deals to COVAX, it is still discriminatory.
Meanwhile, Gavi CEO Seth Berkley stated that COVAX was ready to receive donations of extra doses. He added the initiative could also purchase them from the pharmaceutical companies to ensure equitable distribution. South Africa, which has recorded over 1.4 million cases, will receive about 1.4 million doses between January and February.
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