COVID-19 Vaccine Delay in Africa Will Cause Moral Crisis – Nkengasong

FILE PHOTO: John Nkengasong, Africa’s Director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), speaks during an interview with Reuters at the African Union (AU) Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File Photo

Africa Centres for Disease Control’s head, Dr. John Nkengasong has said delay of the availability of COVID-19 vaccines in Africa may lead to a moral crisis.

Nkengasong said the world must be cautious of causing a moral catastrophe when the developed countries of the world have vaccines in store unused while Africa waits for quarters.

He said April should the latest period for the commencement of significant vaccination across the African continent.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, he said; “That’s a long way to go given that this virus transmits very quickly,”

He further added that the continent can’t wait for a long period of time because “the second wave is here with a vengeance”.

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Cases of the COVID-19 in Africa have increased in the past one week while deaths have also multiplied, according to data by the CDC.

Currently, Africa has more than 2.7m cases while deaths have also increased to 64,000. In the past week alone, South Africa, the most affe ted country in the continent recorded 82,000 cases.

Africa’s biggest snags have been found to be finances, availability and storage capacity of the vaccines.

While the wealthy nations of the world have received thousands of doses, most countries in Africa are hopeful about the COVAX programme that will make vaccines available for the poorest nations of the world.

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“We don’t have to get into a moral crisis, where these things are stocked in the developed world and we in Africa are struggling to have,” Nkengasong said.

“This would easily become a moral catastrophe if we should not come together as one to address going forward as early as possible in 2021 and meet Africa at its point of need.”

Morocco and Egypt have made orders to China’s Sinopharm, while South Africa expects its first supplies of the vaccine in April 2021. Most African countries are expected to have the vaccine in the second quarter of 2021.

Nkengasong however charged African countries to produce their own vaccines while a vaccine strategy is being developed.

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