Rich countries snatch up Covid-19 vaccines - Beaking Kenya News

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Friday, 9 October 2020

Rich countries snatch up Covid-19 vaccines


Rich nations have already snatched up more than half of the promised Covid-19 vaccine doses, according to Nairobi-based international charity Oxfam.

Oxfam recently said even in the extremely unlikely event that five top vaccine candidates succeed, nearly two thirds (61 per cent) of the world’s population will not have a vaccine until at least 2022.

Consequently, the African Union has outlined the difficult road ahead for its member countries to access Covid-19 vaccines, when they become available.

The Africa CDC says the continent has reason to worry and act fast.

“The United States, for example, has made deals worth upwards of US$6 billion (Sh600 billion) with several firms,” Africa CDC director John N. Nkengasong says in an article published in Nature.

He says this is not the first time a scramble for life-saving vaccines and therapeutics left Africa out.

“It happened with HIV and H5N1 influenza, for example. And Africa has ended up at the end of the queue every time. Yet the global economy depends on the continent for its exports of raw materials, food, energy and labour,” he says.

The article is co-authored by Nicaise Ndembi, Akhona Tshangela and Tajudeen Raji.

“This experience — and the fact that other infectious diseases will surely emerge — is why Africa needs a coordinated strategy to develop, finance, manufacture and deliver vaccines across the continent.”

The authors say currently, the continent’s main hope is the Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access initiative co-led by the World Health Organization, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations  and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

“Under this scheme, even poor nations should have enough vaccines to protect health-care workers and the most vulnerable 20 per cent of their populations, the authors say.

Kenya is part of the Covax initiative under which it will access vaccines at a subsidised Sh200 per dose.

The Africa CDC also explained that conducting trials in Africa is the best way to make sure vaccines are safe and effective for her population.

The authors say new financing will be required to pay the billions of dollars for Covid‑19 vaccinations, including advance payments to secure supply.

“The Africa Export Import Bank has committed to a vaccine-financing framework for Africa,” they say.

African countries will also need efficient processes to fast-track market authorisation of safe and effective vaccines.

The authors estimate that to vaccinate 60 per cent of its population (the estimated minimum requirement for herd immunity), Africa will need about 1.5 billion doses of vaccine.

The cost of the vaccine and of building systems and structures required for delivery is estimated at between $7 billion (Sh700 billion) and $10 billion (Sh1 trillion).

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