If we put an end to inequality (Serum), we can end the epidemic. If we allow this inequality to continue, we allow the epidemic to continue.”, launched on December 14, 2021 Managing Director From the World Health Organization (WHO), and Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
– Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) December 15 2021
It has become a mantra that the head of the World Health Organization has been chanting for months. If the question of vaccine inequality that Africa illustrates takes on an ethical dimension, it is above all scientific justification and is concrete again with the advent of the Omicron variant that is spreading at full speed.
“It is no longer necessary to establish the link between the emergence of new variants and inequalities in vaccines”, Franceinfo Africa is explained by Dr Richard Mihijo, Coordinator of the Immunization and Vaccine Development Program at the WHO Regional Office for Africa. “We already knew this with other forms of viral diseases. The more you allow the virus to spread in an unvaccinated community, which is unprotected – we have experience with measles in children – the more (for him) It gives the possibility of change and transformation. Seasonal flu is also a telling case.”
Ten months ago, the first doses reached African countries, mainly via the Covax Solidarity Mechanism. With the exception of Eritrea, all of them now publish their authorized range of vaccines. So far, more 250 million doses given on the continent. Unfortunately, According to the World Health OrganizationThey just represent3% of about 8 billion doses” injected into the world. consequences : “Only about 8% of Africans are fully immunized, compared to more than 60% in many high-income countries.”
The Director-General of the World Health Organization spoke on 29 November on the occasion of the Extraordinary Session of the World Health Assembly Explain that a worst-case scenario has crystallized. “A year ago, we started seeing some countries doing bilateral deals with manufacturers, and we signaled that the poorest and most vulnerable would be sacrificed in this global vaccine rush. And that’s exactly what it is. It has happened. More than 80% of the world’s vaccines are earmarked for countries Group of Twenty” Then Dr. Ghebreyesus regretted. He also indicated that some countries have begun to do so “To vaccinate groups at very low risk of developing acutely, or give booster doses to healthy adults” While in Africa “Only one in four health workers has been vaccinated.”
December 1st, World AIDS Day – Another 40-year pandemic – It was an opportunity for many to parallel the unequal treatment Africans were subjected to in the early hours of the pandemic and the day they became its victims in the face of COVID-19. Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), has risen to the plate once again by lending her voice, along with Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, to awareness video From People’s Vaccine, a coalition of NGOs and activists campaigning for affordable vaccines.
The responsibility of laboratories is indicated, as is the monopoly of vaccines by wealthier nations. Attitude Swipe for the thousandth time By South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, the African Union’s hero in the fight against COVID-19, during his visit to Senegal on December 7. The leader, who is currently suffering from Covid-19, noted that rich countries had ordered it “More vaccines than its population needs.”
“Pharmaceutical companies continue to prioritize high-income countries that are also stockpiling more doses than they can use, while blocking attempts to oversupply by supporting temporary waiver of intellectual property rights and increased technology and knowledge sharing.”, briefly 14 December, Amnesty International in a report On inequality in vaccines in East Africa.
Africa faced a shortfall of 470 million doses for 2021And The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Machidiso Moeti, called on countries in mid-September “who have reservations” to me “Release their potions so other countries can buy them.” I also urged those “Who promised potions? To catch “Urgently” their promises. The United States, the European Union and France have made declarations in this direction.
Henceforth, the continent was no longer in a state of shortage in the early months of 2021 when the acceleration of the epidemic in India forced the country to keep its production capabilities to itself while ensuring the manufacture of the AstraZeneca vaccine for Covax. “About 20 million doses are sent every week to the continent today.” Through Covax, Avat (African Union Vaccine Procurement Program) and bilateral agreements signed by countries, Dr Fiona Atuhboye said on December 14, Responsible for introducing new vaccines into the WHO Regional Office for Africa.
To improve its spread, the African Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the Vaccine Alliance-Gavi, among others, have called for better predictability of donations. “the majority (who are they) The ones implemented so far have been customized, with short notice and short retention period. So it is very difficult for countries to plan vaccination campaigns,” specific Press release published at the end of November. Lack of funds, lack of injections, absence of qualified personnel or even poor planning for setting priority goals are all hurdles that must be overcome in some countries to inject sera.
Added to this is the reluctance of the vaccine, which affects the whole world. November 24 Reuters reported Requested by South Africa Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer are delaying delivery because distrust of vaccines has been slowing down their campaign. The country hardest hit by Covid-19 is in Africa, but it is also one of the few on the continent to come close to the 40% vaccination rate set by the World Health Organization for the end of the year. This mistrust, fueled in part by misinformation, is often associated with this ‘insufficient response’ Concerns about vaccine safety and side effects, analyzes Dr. Fayouna Athoubwey. “In some countries, we also found that religious leaders are very popular and what they say (in this subject) Very important to their followers, contrary to what science says.” Involve these opinion leaders “very important” It is data to be taken into account, the expert notes. But with the third wave that we are witnessing in most countries and the arrival of the fourth wave, And she adds, Frequency tends to decrease. Because we found in WHOAnd Vaccine frequency is often swept away by pandemic waves.
All in all, logistical difficulties, mistrust of vaccines or even supposed waste of doses seem secondary to understanding vaccine inequality. “There is a need to dispel the impression that (…) millions of doses have been lost, and are expiring in Africa. This is not the case. The main challenge in African countries is vaccine supply.Dr. Moeti said on December 14 at the regional office press conference.
If they are behind on vaccination, “Africa resisted better (to) different waves” From what the statistics predicted at the start of the pandemic, Dr. Richard Mihijo said in early December. There are many reasons for this, but seroprevalence studies I showed “that between 40% and 60% of the population” You may have contracted the virus in some countries. The vast majority of infections, which have been known for a long time, remain asymptomatic. He adds. However,“It is important to avoid severe forms, particularly in vulnerable populations.” – The elderly, those with companion birds and immunocompromised – “The only protection should not be passive protection but active protection by vaccination.”
As end-of-year festivities, conducive to gatherings, approach, and while they wait to reduce their reliance on vaccines in the face of the outside world, the WHO is encouraging Africans to heed gestures of barrier. The ‘winning’ formula against SARS-CoV-2: Vaccination (when available) + Barrier crumbs. facing the continent “officially” Fourth wave. As of December 14, it had nearly 9 million cases and recorded over 225 000 deaths since the beginning of the epidemic.