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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

World Leaders Frown Over Slow Pace of COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

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Justina Asishana
Justina Asishana
Justina Asishana is a Nigerian from Edo state. She is a data and investigative journalist who also fact-checks. She covers health, agriculture, education and governance

AFRICA: Former President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark has frowned over the inability of high income countries to meet the recommendations of the Independent Panel on Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPPR) to distribute at least one million doses of COVID-19 Vaccines to low and middle income countries by 1st September.

The duo who were former Co-Chairs of the Independent Panel on Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPPR) noted with concern the slow pace of the redistribution of COVID-19 vaccines from high income to low-income countries.

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The redistribution, according to the Co-Chairs, would go a long way in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 on those who are vulnerable.

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“The Independent Panel report recommended that high-income countries ensure that at least one billion doses of vaccines available to them were redistributed to 92 low-and middle-income countries  by 1 September, and a further one billion doses by mid-2022.

 “Ensuring that all those around the world most vulnerable to the impact of the virus, including healthcare workers, older people and those with significant comorbidities, can be  vaccinated quickly is a critical step towards curbing the pandemic,” President Sirleaf and Helen Clark said.

Vaccine Doses Shipped Via COVAX

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The Co-Chairs noted that only 99 million dose donations have been shipped via COVAX, out of which only 89 million have been shipped to the 92 Advance Market Commitment countries.

This, according to them, falls short of the one billion doses the Independent Panel recommended while lamenting that the high income countries have ordered more doses than they needed.

 “High-income countries have ordered over twice as many doses as are needed for their populations. Now is the time to show solidarity with those who have not yet  been able to vaccinate their frontline health workers and most vulnerable populations.

“Reaching the goal of redistributing one billion doses by 1 September would be a vital step in protecting the five billion people aged 15 and over who live in low-and middle-income countries. The 600 million doses which have already been pledged now need to be delivered with urgency”, the Co-Chairs said.

Calls for Africa Manufacturing Capacity of Vaccine

The Co-Chairs has stressed the need for Africa to increase her manufacturing capacity to enable it scale up the vaccine production

“Manufacturing capacity has to be increased and knowledge and technology shared in order to scale up production quickly. This pandemic has shown the global risks of locating the know-how and manufacturing facilities in just a handful of countries.

“We welcome the announcement that a COVID mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub has been established in South Africa. More such announcements are needed. Low- and middle-income countries must be able to produce more of their own vaccines and thereby help increase in general the amount of vaccine available to the world”, the Co-Chairs said.

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