AU Chair urges support for vax, medicine manufacture in Africa

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Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union (AU), has called for supporting initiatives in the manufacture of essential medicines and vaccines beyond Covid-19 in the continent as this was key to global health security…reports Asian Lite News

Mahamat 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.

AU Chair urges support for vax, medicine manufacture in Africa

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, reports Xinhua news agency.

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 7 per cent of Africans have been vaccinated, compared to 70 per cent of people around the world,” Mahamat said.

According to the AU Commission chief, when the Covid-19 pandemic started in early 2020, 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.

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Noting that the continent with a population of 1.3 billion accounts for about 14 per cent of the world’s population, but produces less than 0.1 per cent of global vaccines, he emphasised 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.