African Union health agency denounces broken promises of rich countries

The African Union health authority on Thursday attacked world leaders who did not honor their promises to share Covid-19 vaccines with the poorest populations, as Africa faces to a resurgence of the pandemic.

Across Africa, where the 200,000 death toll was exceeded on Tuesday, the number of cases is rising at an alarming rate: more than 40 countries are experiencing a third wave, six are already grappling with a fourth, as life resumes normal course in many wealthy countries thanks to high immunization rates.

Only 3.18% of Africans have been fully immunized out of a total of 1.3 billion people. These delays can be explained by the shortage of available doses, but also by the mistrust of some populations towards vaccines.

“We cannot continue to politicize this situation by making statements that do not lead to firm commitments,” said the director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), John Nkengasong.

One billion vaccines

The major powers of the G7 pledged in June to share a billion Covid vaccines with developing countries, instead of the 130 million promised in February, hoping to silence critics.

The G7 plan also includes commitments to avoid future pandemics, such as reducing vaccine development and approval times, strengthening global surveillance and the World Health Organization (WHO).

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But according to Mr. Nkengasong, the arrival of the promised doses has not yet materialized in Africa. “We have not seen a billion vaccines,” he said.

He denounced a “vaccine diplomacy whereby people speak in the media that are not reflected in reality.”

L’OMS s’insurge

The WHO on Wednesday urged rich countries to give priority to distributing first doses to health professionals and vulnerable populations in the poorest countries, rather than providing reminders (doses “boosters”) to their own nationals.

According to its estimates, Africa will need 1.5 billion doses of vaccine to immunize 60% of its inhabitants.

“We will not win this war against the pandemic if we do not vaccinate everyone quickly,” Nkengasong insisted. “Otherwise, we will have to prepare to live with this virus as an endemic disease. “

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