Opinion. To stop the Covid in Africa, it will not be enough to send vaccines

The percentage of people vaccinated against Covid-19 in Africa is ridiculous, and this has undoubtedly favored the appearance of the Omicron variant. More doses must be sent to Africa to help the continent in its fight against the pandemic, writes the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, but this cannot be the only tool.

The wave of panic generated by the Omicron variant puts, and with force, an issue on the table: that of access to vaccines in disadvantaged countries. An issue that is of particular concern to Africa, where the latest Covid mutation was detected for the first time.

It is necessary to send massive doses to Africa. Unfortunately, there is ample evidence that this would not be enough to prevent the appearance of new variants on this part of the planet.

Because even in the highly desirable scenario where the West finally decides to come out of its slumber (if not for humanitarian reasons, then at least for its own salvation), vaccines alone will not be enough. Rather, they risk becoming what they have been decades during the rains of financial aid paid to Africa: not an effective solution, but a totem through which we shed our guilt.

Today, the number of vaccines we are giving Africa, selfishly jealous of our third dose, is still very low. Our tendency to declare ourselves on this issue is not unfounded. According to the WHO, only 6% of the African population is vaccinated (that is, a tenth of the European average). In countries like Burundi, the vaccination rate drops as low as 0.002%. The Covax program, which should have guaranteed 2 billion doses to the 145 countries most in need, remains to this day a noble pipe dream. Africa is home to 17% of the world’s population, but has only had access to 3% of the roads.

The consequences of this imbalance are explained by virologists and immunologists from around the world.


Goffredo Buccini

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