WHO & Who’s Who, On Earth!
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed that a total of 1.3 billion people have been vaccinated so far, worldwide. However, only 1% of those, who have been vaccinated, are seen to be Africans! It, thus, tantamounts to the fact that WHO has failed to follow its policy of Equal Distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. This is not the scenario only in Africa, but also in Latin America, Asia and in the Caribbean. Apart from facing a shortage of vaccines, these regions are experiencing a problem that penetrates deeper. It is because they lack proper health infrastructure, transportation of vaccines, and lack of awareness of Coronavirus among people.
Africa has reportedly received 28 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, so far. The figure is less than 2% of the continent’s total population! On the contrary, more than half of the population have been vaccinated in the First World existing, or the Developed Nations. Israel is at the top as far as vaccination is concerned. Nearly 51% of people have been vaccinated in the US. The Joe Biden Administration recently approved vaccine for children aged 12-15 years. The vaccination drive has also progressed in Britain.
According to WHO, at least 40 African nations are dependent on the COVAX project. Under this project, comparatively cheaper vaccines, manufactured by Serum Institute of India, are being sent to poorer countries. However, the Indian biotechnology and biopharmaceuticals company is struggling to meet the needs of the South Asian country. It may be noted that Serum is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer.
The specialised agency of the UN responsible for international public health has mentioned in its latest report that Africa requires at least 20 million doses of AstraZeneca in the next six weeks, for the second round of vaccination. It is the time for those, who have taken the first jab, to take the second. However, there is no vaccine. Apart from this, Africa needs 200 million doses to complete the vaccination of only 10% of the population of the continent. Dr Matshidiso Rebecca Natalie Moeti – a Physician, Public Health Specialist as well as a Medical Administrator from Botswana who has been serving as Regional Director of the WHO Regional Office for Africa – was heard saying: “We have seen where African countries are now, partly due to the situation in India. You have to appreciate that another developing country, being the world’s factory for these vaccines, particularly for poor countries, is facing a very difficult situation.”
South Africa has the highest number of COVID-19 infections in the continent. Experts have warned that the third wave might rock South Africa in the coming winter. As the Government of South Africa has decided to vaccinate 67% of its population by February 2022, it has signed a contract with Pfizer for purchasing 30 million doses. So far, South Africa has received only 1.3 million doses. It shall receive another 4.5 million by the end of June. Cape Town has also signed a deal with Johnson & Johnson, although the US multinational corporation is yet to send vaccines to South Africa. The situation is quite similar in Latin America and the Caribbean Islands. Only 8% of the global population live in these two regions. However, it has been noticed that 30% of the global COVID-19 deaths took place there.
On the other hand, the WHO has found negligence in government initiatives in small hilly countries, like Nepal. In the south-eastern African nation of Malawi, a huge number of doses of COVID-19 vaccines have wasted, as the Government has failed to vaccinate people before the expiry date. Malawi had received vaccines under the COVAX project… however, it has failed to use those vaccines due to lack of a proper health infrastructure. Furthermore, the country has no trained health workers and transportation system to send vaccines from one place to other.
From the above, it may be surmised that the WHO is more interested in saving the people of First World…
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