Less than two doses per hundred inhabitants: Africa remains the least immunized continent in the world. One billion and 400 million inhabitants, only 28 million vaccines anti-Covid drugs administered by the end of May (in the United States about half the population has already received at least one dose). The African delay affects everyone: we are leaving endless cities and savannas to the coronavirus where they can run, mutate, refine new variants that can also threaten the goodness of the vaccines themselves at every latitude. And how does the West react? Sending the scraps down.
Inefficiencies in the distribution system and expiration times of vaccines make everything even more difficult. The case of Malawi (18 million inhabitants, 353,000 vaccines inoculated so far), which he publicly burned 20,000 doses of vaccine arrived last month with the expiration date of April 13 on the packages. Last week, South Sudan, a country at war with almost non-existent health facilities, sent its precious 8,600 doses to Kenya. fearing not to be able to use them given the tight deadlines. Which are an aspect not yet well explored that requires many studies, denounces Amanda Harvey-Dehaye of Doctors Without Borders al Financial Times. The problem, the WHO argues, is not so much the safety of expired vaccines as their reduced effectiveness.
There is a suspicion that rich countries are leaving Africa with the remnants of their vaccine feast, albeit sacrosanct. Assuming that the leftovers arrive at their destination. The World Health Organization (WHO) launches an appeal: 200 million doses are urgently needed in the coming weeks, if at least 10% of the African population is to be vaccinated by the end of September.
The European Union has promised to send 100 million to low-income countries by the end of the year, the US 80 million. But time is running out: according to the WHO, 20 million doses of AstraZeneca (the vaccine that best resists heat) are needed in the next six weeks. France plans to send half a million to five African countries. The 28 million doses arrived so far from outside the continent (Africa has a total flaw in production, importing 99% of vaccines and 94% of the drugs it consumes) are largely the result of Covax, the program to combat Covid created by Gavi, the international vaccine alliance operating under the aegis of the UN. The 54 African countries, individually and as a whole, have a very limited capacity to get vaccines from manufacturers. The European Union in recent days announced that it will invest one billion euros for potential production capacity in Africa in the health sector. But vaccines are needed now. While we speak and leave, under the Mediterranean there is a fear of the arrival of a third wave of infections. It is striking that in a country like the Democratic Republic of Congo as many as 32 deputies (on paper more advantaged than normal people in access to treatment) have died so far from Covid. The official death toll clearly underestimated: about 130 thousand in the entire continent, little more than in Italy.
June 2, 2021 (change June 2, 2021 | 15:16)
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