AU chairperson calls for support for vaccine, medicine manufacture in Africa

2021-12-13 18:22:37Xinhua Editor : Xue Lingqiao ECNS App Download
Special: Battle Against Novel Coronavirus

The African Union (AU) Commission on Sunday called for supporting African initiatives in the manufacture of essential medicines and vaccines beyond COVID-19 as this is key to global health security.

Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the 55-member pan-African bloc, made the remarks at the Vaccines and Global Health Security Session of the Group of Seven Foreign and Development Ministerial meeting, according to an AU statement.

Mahamat stressed that the availability of vaccines against COVID-19 and the virus' different variants is vital for Africa and the rest of the world.

Regarding the delivery of vaccines, the AU Commission chairperson pointed out that Africa has seen disproportionate delays, in comparison with the rest of the world, when it came to vaccines ordered from the market and those pledged under COVAX, the global vaccine equity mechanism.

"Only seven percent of Africans have been vaccinated, compared to 70 percent of people around the world," Mahamat said.

According to the AU Commission chief, when the COVID-19 pandemic started, Africa requested to have the same access to vaccines at the same price when they became available.

"Two years later, we witnessed that these assurances of global solidarity were ignored," Mahamat said.

He further questioned the global community's commitment and solidarity with Africa, regarding which he singled out the recent treatment of Southern African countries in connection with the Omicron variant.

"Now more than ever, the world must honor its commitments with urgency. Vaccine nationalism is self-defeating and suicidal in a global pandemic," said Mahamat.

Noting that the African continent with a population of 1.3 billion accounts for about 14 percent of the world's population, but produces less than 0.1 percent of global vaccines, he emphasized the need to enable Africa's capabilities.

In April this year, the AU launched the Partnership for African Vaccine Manufacturing, which aimed at ensuring timely access to vaccines to protect public health security. 

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