Rich nations urged to share Covid jabs
Civil society groups yesterday intensified calls for developed countries to channel more Covid-19 vaccines to poor countries.
The groups drawn from Africa including Kenya said rich countries continued to ‘hoard’ the vaccines yet they have more than enough to share with developing countries that have little manufacturing capacity.
Under the eagis of Africa Health Foundation (AHF) they pushed a global call-to-action to ‘Vaccinate Our World’ at a virtual press conference in Johannesburg, South Africa.
They urged world leaders, vaccine manufacturers and public health organisations to ‘VOW’ to protect humanity by providing equal access to Covid-19 vaccines worldwide.
It emerged that western countries purchased more than they needed at the onset of the Coronavirus just to guard against future infections.
The activists, however, warned that if this does not happen as soon as possible, there is a likelihood of re-infections and emergence of new Covid-19 variants as the continent risks becoming a reservoir.
“We are concerned about vaccine nationalism,” said Alice Kayongo, policy and advocacy manager at AHF.
Her sentiments mirror the ones previously shared by African leaders that rich nations acquired large doses of vaccines from the developers and manufacturers to cushion their populace against the pandemic.
“Some countries went out of their way and acquired four times what their population needs, and that was aimed at hoarding these vaccines,” she said.
The groups said more vaccines should get to the people, with Ministries of Health in Africa urged to ensure systems are working.
They urged nations to draw lessons from other pandemics such as HIV and Ebola outbreaks to adopt innovative methods to end Covid-19.
Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network on HIV and AIDS (KELIN) executive director of the Allan Maleche said it was time to get more people vaccinated and countries should share with other countries that do not have the capacity to produce adequate number of vaccines.