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10 Dec, 2020 14:53

Africa disease control head slams Covid-19 vaccine inequality and calls on rich nations to share the jab

Africa disease control head slams Covid-19 vaccine inequality and calls on rich nations to share the jab

The director of Africa’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has called on rich nations to share Covid-19 vaccine supplies after a number of Western countries ordered quantities far in excess of their need.

Speaking on Thursday, CDC head John Nkengasong said African nations were struggling to secure access to vaccines while other nations were hoarding supplies. 

Nkengasong said in his weekly news briefing that access to coronavirus jabs was a “moral issue” and blasted the “terrible” vaccine inequality.  

“Some countries have got like three times to four, five times more than what they need,” he added. 

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Nkengasong claimed the West will not solve Covid-19 on its own, noting that “we in Africa are still struggling with the Covax facility,” a multinational initiative to ensure poorer nations have access to some vaccines. 

Africa will not receive anywhere near enough jabs to reach herd immunity, which would roughly be achieved by inoculating 60 percent of the continent’s 1.2 billion people, Nkengasong said, adding that wealthy countries should be ready to share their excess doses. 

“By that count, Africa will need at least 750 million doses of the coronavirus vaccines,” he claimed.  

We need to show global cooperation, global solidarity. The time to translate those powerful words into action is now.

The CDC director also called on the United Nations to hold a meeting on the fair and ethical distribution of vaccines, adding that it is necessary to avoid “this north-south distrust in respect to vaccines, which is a common good.”  

While many wealthy countries have secured access to Covid-19 vaccines, only two countries, the UK and Russia, have started inoculating citizens.

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