Vaccine Equity: Regulator slams global leaders over pledges without commitments

*Africa is facing COVID-19 resurgence with its attendant highly transmissible Delta variant, as the continent lags in the global vaccination drive, with just 3.18 percent of its 1.3billion population fully inoculated thus far

*We cannot continue to politicise this situation by making statements that we do not follow through with firm commitments, says Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC)

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

As promises of hundreds of millions of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccine doses to developing countries and emerging markets have yet to materialise, the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), the African Union’s (AU) health watchdog, has accused global leaders of falling short in their pledges to share the much needed virus vaccines with poorer countries of the world.

ConsumerConnect learnt the continental health regulatory body stated that the leaders’ apparent failure in this regard risks making the disease endemic.

COVID-19 Vaccines

Africa is facing COVID-19 resurgence with its attendant highly transmissible Delta variant, as the Black continent lags in the global vaccination drive, with just 3.18 percent of its 1.3billion population fully inoculated thus far, according to report.

John Nkengasong, Head of Africa CDC, said during an online media briefing Thursday, September 9, 2021, that “we cannot continue to politicise this situation by making statements that we do not follow through with firm commitments.

“Pledges do not put vaccines into peoples’ arms.”

Across the continent, cases are rising at an alarming rate.

Report also indicates over 40 countries are experiencing a third wave of infection and six are grappling with their fourth, even as life in many wealthy nations is returning to normal thanks to high inoculation figures.

Facing anger over unequal access to jabs, the Group of Seven (G7) industrialised powers pledged June 2021 to provide a billion COVID vaccines with developing countries, up from 130 million earlier promised February this year.

The G7 plan also included commitments to avert future pandemics — slashing time taken to develop and licence vaccines to under 100 days, reinforcing global surveillance and strengthening the WHO, among others.

However, Nkengasong said the doses had yet to materialise till this day.

He stated: “We have not seen a billion vaccines. We are not as a continent very keen in any definition of vaccine diplomacy that would mean people make statements in the media that are not backed with reality.”

COVID-19 vaccination in Nigeria

Likewise, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Wednesday, September 8 urged rich countries to give priority to getting first jabs for health workers and vulnerable populations in poorer populations over supplying boosters to their own citizens.

Meanwhile, it is estimated that Africa will need 1.5 billion COVID-19 Vaccine doses to immunise 60 percent of its inhabitants and achieve some level of herd immunity.

Nkengasong added: “We are not going to win this war against the pandemic, if we do not vaccinate everybody at speed.

“Otherwise, we should brace ourselves to live with this virus as an endemic disease going forward.”

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