Connect with us

World News

Failure to send more jabs to Africa is a ‘huge mistake’

Thaiger

Published

 on 

<div>Failure to send more jabs to Africa is a 'huge mistake'</div>
image
image

Though Africa currently has fewer cases of COVID-19 than Europe, experts fear there will be more waves as only about 7% of the continent’s 1.3 billion inhabitants are fully vaccinated.

Most African countries depend on vaccine doses from abroad, even if there are efforts to build up local production centers. But, as the number of cases rises in Europe, supplies to Africa will likely suffer. Germany, for example, has already made a decision to retain vaccine doses that were destined for poorer countries. “We have even postponed some of our COVAX donations, international BioNTech donations, from December to January and February so that there will be enough doses in Germany,” Health Minister Jens Spahn said this week.

His words came just a few days after World Health Organization (WHO) head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus criticized certain countries for stockpiling vaccines. “Every day, there are six times more boosters administered globally than primary doses in low-income countries,” he said. “This is a scandal that must stop now.”

The nonprofit ONE Campaign has called for the German government to reverse its decision and to continue to give doses to COVAX as pledged. “If we don’t move fast to ensure that people all over the world have access to vaccines, we will be prolonging the pandemic visibly,” ONE Germany director Stephan Exo-Kreischer told DW, before describing Spahn’s decision as a “huge mistake and a devastating signal to the world regarding Germany’s dependency.” Furthermore, he argued, Germany had bought more doses than it needs.

“There are more people in rich countries who have now received a third shot than there are people in poorer countries who have received even a first shot,” he continued. “This is the result of bad politics.”

100 million free doses for COVAX

The Health Ministry told DW that Germany was providing a total of 100 million free doses to be distributed mainly via COVAX. According to the ministry, the government has invested €2.2 billion ($2.5 billion) into speeding up the development, production and distribution of tests and materials, including €1.6 billion for the COVAX program.

Despite the low vaccination rates, there is currently a downward trend in new COVID-19 cases in Africa. The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has registered a total of 8.5 million cases, of which over 222,000 were fatal. But Exo-Kreischer believs these numbers were probably erroneous: “We have to assume that fewer than 15% of cases on the continent are actually detected. Even if the numbers seem low on paper, the WHO estimates that they are seven times higher.”

He said a lack of good qualitative data was the issue, pointing out that South Africa had low rates, whereas infections in Tanzania have not been recorded in a systematic way.

“The good record regarding infection rates is actually related to the fact that there is too little testing and reporting,” said Wolfgang Preiser, from South Africa’s Stellenbosch University. But he said it was possible to make estimates from excess mortality data: “In South Africa, three times more people have died of COVID-19 than has been reported officially.”

“I think that we will only be presented with the bill in years to come,” he said, before pointing out that other illnesses were also being neglected because of the pandemic.

Only 23% of South Africa’s 59 million inhabitants are vaccinated, and there are almost 3 million cases at the moment.

There are enough doses, as opposed to in most African countries, where there are shortages, but “the biggest challenge is actually vaccinating people: There are more doses than can be used, like in industrialized countries.”

Preiser said that there were also anti-vaccination groups in South Africa, who tended to be white, wealthy and educated, but skeptical of the government.

Zimbabwe and Botswana fare reasonably well

In neighboring Zimbabwe, the government has said that the pandemic is under control and only a few new cases and deaths have been reported recently.

Botswana is also doing reasonably well. At the height of a coronavirus spike in the summer, it bought in large quantities of vaccine and launched a major rollout.

According to the country’s COVID taskforce, some 56% of the population has now received a first shot and 29% have already had their second. The most recent numbers show 31 cases per 100,000 and 2,416 deaths. Moreover, there are reportedly very few anti-vaxxers, which experts attribute to a general trust in the stable government and the health-care system.

Mauritania, which has been designated a “champion” by the WHO is also making great efforts to inoculate the population. “We knew that we would not be able to cope with the social and economic consequences of a hard lockdown,” Health Minister Sidi Ould Zahaf recently told the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung. But for the moment, only 13% of the population has received two shots, so there is still a long way to go.

In the rest of the continent, the situation is much worse: In 30 countries, less than 10% of the population is vaccinated.

This article was translated from German.

SOURCE: DW News

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forum
🔔 Subscribe to our daily newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

Follow Thaiger by email:

Southeast Asia2 mins ago

Detained Cambodian monk with refugee status says he could jailed if deported from Thailand

Thailand8 mins ago

Wildlife officials search for Bengal tiger roaming across three provinces

Thailand17 mins ago

CCSA criticises newspaper’s ‘hunt for Africans’ story, clarifies efforts to track travellers

Sponsored2 days ago

Hungry Hub Bangkok Rooftop Festival 2021

advertiseadvertise
Thailand29 mins ago

Searching for travellers, optimistic projection, Thai pajamas | Thaiger Bites | Ep.73

Chon Buri3 hours ago

Baby elephant rescued after being shot in the shoulder while leg caught in trap

Coronavirus World3 hours ago

US introduces new restrictions for international arrivals from Monday

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Crime4 hours ago

Junior police officer facing attempted murder for allegedly shooting at a Bangkok bus

Coronavirus World4 hours ago

AirAsia boss accuses governments of overreacting to Omicron threat

World5 hours ago

5 Omicron cases reported in South Korea

Coronavirus World5 hours ago

No vaccine, no entry: Germany gets tough on those who refuse to get vaccinated

Video5 hours ago

Thailand Top Stories | ‘Overreaction’ to Omicron, trillion Baht boost for Thailand | Dec 3

Thailand5 hours ago

Alcohol restrictions ease, Events in Thailand, High speed railways | Good Morning Thailand | Ep.145

Coronavirus (Covid-19)5 hours ago

Lockdown not on the cards, but re-opening nightlife may be postponed: PM

South20 hours ago

Soldier suspended from duty after allegedly killing a woman in Narathiwat

Southeast Asia20 hours ago

Myanmar junta criticises UN’s decision for denying its envoy

Thailand3 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism9 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism9 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism9 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending