By Justina Auta
An NGO, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has urged Anthony Bliken, U.S. Secretary of State to rally world leaders to address global vaccine inequity.
The organisation made the call in a statement in Abuja by Mr Steve Aborisade, Advocacy and Marketing Manager, AHF Nigeria.
The U.S. Secretary of State had on Thursday, paid a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari in Nigeria.
The statement quoted Dr Penninah Lutung, Bureau Chief, Africa, AHF that the visit to the president was to discuss collaboration on global health security and other issues of import.
“The novel Coronavirus has shown glaring flaws in the world’s collective ability to respond to infectious disease outbreaks with evident unwillingness by wealthiest countries’ to cooperate on vaccine equity for the benefit of the entire global population.
“The Covax initiative, while promising, was supposed to supply lower-income countries with sufficient vaccine doses, however, that mechanism clearly has fallen short of its initial goal to vaccinate 20 per cent of recipient countries.
“This is still far too little when the World Health Organiaation (WHO) states that a vaccination rate of 70 per cent is required to protect the world.
“As of early October 2021, 3.6 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered globally, with 78 per cent of those going to people in high- and upper-middle-income countries.
“Less than seven per cent of the 1.3 billion people on the African continent have received even one dose.
“The discrepancy is worse for people in low-income countries where less than one per cent have gotten a shot.”
He, therefore, stressed the need for world leaders to prioritise global vaccine access and tow the path of the United States’ leadership.
This, she said by ensuring that majority of nations that desperately want to vaccinate their populations should be able to do so.
“A sense of vaccine equity will also set in when pharmaceutical companies share their know-how and technology to increase production in Africa and globally and, when we are rid of patent monopolies for COVID vaccines.
“Further steps that leaders of the wealthiest economies must take include: raising at least100 billion dollars, enough to vaccinate our world, committing to international cooperation as the most fundamental way to address pandemics.
“If one nation is under threat from COVID-19 with no access to vaccines, all nations are in danger,” he said. (NAN)