“There’s no point in banning flights from South Africa. The most effective strategy, as well as the most ethical, is to make sure that everyone is vaccinated ». With the arrival of the new Covid variant, the so-called Omicron, the issue of vaccine shortages in developing countries is once again discussed. “Give the doses to Africa or the world will not be saved from Covid,” he said in an interview with The Republic the director of Amref Healt Africa Githinji Gitahi, director of the organization also involved in the health field in africa. Gitahi, who is also responsible for the new African Commission against the pandemic, recalled that there are 1.3 billion people on the continent: “Africa has the 17% of the world population, but so far only had access to 3% of global vaccine doses “. While the North of the world proceeds with the campaigns to inoculate the third doses, many African countries have not even started the administration of the first. “More third doses are given in the world than first doses,” Githai said. “That is, the rich nations are dispensing more boosters than the first doses are dispensed by poor nations.” The issue on the table remains that of the liberalization of patents, but also of a more effective sharing of products already on the market.
The Covax program of the World Health Organization, while continuing to deliver doses to countries unable to enter into commercial agreements with pharmaceutical companies, has failed to achieve the goal of allowing everyone to achieve the health goals set by the WHO. According to the October data published by the Bbc, in Africa only 15 out of 54 countries have reached the percentage of 10% of the population vaccinated, and half of the continent’s states have vaccinated less than 2% of the population. “Covax should allow at least the 70% of Africans get vaccinated by June 2022, ”Githai said. «But for this it is not enough for one nation or another to donate today 5 million of doses as a sporadic act: the best mechanism is for rich nations to cancel their orders for their new doses ». The support program is gradually improving, and even the pharmaceutical companies have said they are ready to lend a hand by producing more for Africa. The prospect, however, is to succeed by the end of 2022. And the risk is that it will be too late.
Cover image: EPA / KIM LUDBROOK