By Marie Toulemonde, The Africa Report.
Covid vaccination campaigns have kicked off across the globe. But while many developed countries are busy inoculating their populations, the continent is grappling with growing bilateral agreements with foreign laboratories and mobilising its health professionals.
Western countries, perhaps hit harder by the virus, but above all richer, are creating a traffic jam by securing, like Canada, enough vaccines for up to three times their population.
In Africa, deliveries of the vaccines promised by the COVAX aid programme for developing countries are still behind. Faced with the urgent need to contain a second wave that is much more virulent than the first, notably with the South African variant, the AU is releasing funds and some countries are negotiating directly with foreign laboratories.
At the end of December, the NGO Oxfam estimated that 70 poor countries would only be able to vaccinate one in ten inhabitants in 2021. Under these circumstances, China and Russia have once again shown themselves to be particularly attentive to the continent’s needs. As early as June, China’s number one, Xi Jinping, expressed his “generosity” at the China-Africa summit by promising African countries that they would benefit from advantageous conditions during the massive distribution of Chinese vaccines.
Unlike Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, China and Russia pride themselves on having developed vaccines that are accessible, can be stored in the refrigerator (making them easier to send and store in poorer regions) and, above all, are available.
The majority of the Maghreb countries, due to these numerous advantages, have already ordered several million doses. But concerns about the real effectiveness of Chinese vaccines are growing and Russian deliveries are slow. AstraZeneca’s vaccine, produced by the Indian laboratory Serum Institute of India, is also planning to supply 200 million doses as part of the Covax.
Source: By The Africa Report