Jan, 28th 2021 – Health and finance ministers from Africa are to meet the head of the World Health Organization to discuss the equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.
Speaking to journalists ahead of the meeting, WHO boss Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “I will tell them that we are doing everything that we can to accelerate the roll-out of vaccines in Africa. To save lives and get their economies back on track. The rest of the world must play its part.”
This comes a day after South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also the chairperson of the Africa Union, pleaded with rich nations to share their excess vaccine doses with poorer countries.
According to Dr. Seth Berkley, the CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Rich countries have bought nearly 800 million doses of the vaccines, enough to vaccinate their entire populations before poorer countries are able to.
According to Dr. Berkley, “They also have another 1.4 billion doses of different vaccine options. But to ensure that poorer countries start vaccinating their populations against Covid-19 we are looking at approaching rich and asking them to donate excess vaccines to poorer countries.”
He added, “If that won’t work, we will tell them that we would be willing to buy the surplus from them.”
In Africa, only Egypt, Morocco, Guinea, Mauritius, and Seychelles have started vaccinating frontline healthcare workers and those who are vulnerable.