The Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General, Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, has charged African leaders to step up advocacy for an equitable system of distributing COVID-19 vaccines globally.
According to him, the current dispensation is unfair and could leave many countries, particularly in Africa, ravaged by Coronavirus pandemic when a vaccine exists.
Speaking to Citi News, Prof. Sachs, who is also championing a cause for the AU to be given a permanent seat at the G20, underscored the need for fair access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Prof. Sachs also waded into the crisis of vaccine shortage for developing countries and demanded transparency and equity in the distribution of the vaccines, and particularly called on African leaders to strengthen advocacy for access to vaccines.
“I hope that African leaders would raise their voices and say this is not acceptable and insist that we understand that those who developed [the vaccines] fell short and took the early doses but now, [we are] in the second half of 2021 without any clear answers, and we need a plan.”
The inability of African countries to manufacture their own vaccines and the struggle to develop diagnostic test kits when COVID-19 was first recorded in Africa, is a clear indication that more needs to be done to boost quality healthcare delivery on the continent in the face of the pandemic.
Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Nana Akufo-Addo, has described as sad, Africa’s scramble for COVID-19 vaccines for its people.
He has thus hinted at frantic efforts being made by some member states to produce COVID-19 vaccines.
The ECOWAS Chair says the move is aimed at tackling the situation at hand rather than depending solely on foreign aid.
Ghana selected as a manufacturing hub
Ghana stands tall in the selection of African countries for the possible manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines, the European Union (EU) has said.
Vice President of the EU, Valdis Dombrovskis, made the disclosure during President Akufo-Addo’s two-day working visit to Brussels in Belgium.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Jubilee House on Friday, May 21, 2021.
“At the meeting with the Vice President of the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis, the European Commission indicated the selection of Ghana as a possible manufacturing hub for COVID-19 vaccines in Africa,” the statement added.
The expected selection of the West-African country follows initiatives already taken by the government of Ghana towards the domestic manufacturing of vaccines.
Two task force teams from the EU and Ghana will meet shortly to discuss modalities towards the realization of the initiative.
It was stated that the move if successful could get support from the European Investment Bank (EIB).