Mon. May 23rd, 2022


The Real News Network

Give Africa greater access to buy vaccines, a special envoy urges the European Union.

2 min read

By Abdi Latif Dahir and Elian Peltier

NAIROBI, Kenya — The African Union’s special envoy on Covid-19 urged Europe to relax restrictions on vaccine makers’ exports so that African countries could buy more doses and try to stem a fast-surging third wave of the pandemic driven mainly by the more contagious Delta variant.

Speaking in an online news conference on Thursday, the envoy, Strive Masiyiwa, criticized wealthy nations for giving short shrift to Africa’s needs while monopolizing manufacturers’ vaccine output for their own citizens. If Europe can lift lockdowns to let soccer fans throng its stadiums, he said, it is time to open up and let African countries buy more vaccine doses from Europe.

Mr. Masiyiwa spoke about a number of issues related to vaccines, including the European Union’s decision not to recognize Covishield — the India-made version of the AstraZeneca vaccine that most African countries are relying on — in its digital travel pass, which went into use on Thursday.

Just over 1 percent of Africa’s 1.3 billion people have been fully vaccinated so far, according to the World Health Organization, while nearly every country in Europe has surpassed 25 percent. Some are over 45 percent.

To get vaccine supplies, African nations are relying largely on the global purchasing and distribution mechanism known as Covax. It was not immediately clear whether European-made vaccine doses donated through Covax had reached any African countries. European states like France and Denmark have separately donated hundreds of thousands of vaccine doses to African countries like Senegal, Rwanda and Kenya.

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