The African Union special envoy tasked with leading efforts to procure Covid-19 vaccines has criticized European suppliers.
On Thursday, Strive Masiyiwa noted that despite the number of vaccine production centers in Europe, not a single one has been set up on the continent.
"The fact of the matter is the EU has vaccine factories. It has vaccine production centers across Europe. Not a single dose, not one vial has left a European factory for Africa. OK, when we've gone to talk to their manufacturers, they tell us that they are completely maxed out, meeting the needs of Europe. We are referred to India, where a number of manufacturers exist that are manufacturing vaccines like the AstraZeneca vaccine under license because Europe has to decide, you know, you can't say you support us. They have vaccinated so many of their own people that they can now watch football without masks. OK, our people have not been vaccinated. Less than 1% of our population has been vaccinated. That is that is just the facts, Masiyiwa said.
He said that Africans are not asking for donations from Europeans. COVAX promised to delivered 700 million doses to Africa by December. But at mid-year, Africa has received just 65 million doses overall. That’s less than 50 million doses via COVAX that arrived. Meanwhile, the Africa CDC Director, John Nkengasong has announced that the first shipments of Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccines with U.S. support will begin arriving next week.
''Now is the time for Europe to open up its production facilities so that we can buy vaccines. We are not asking for donations. The fact we have money to buy vaccines, vaccines are not expensive, certainly not when it comes to the lives of our people. The poorest of the poor African countries have all stepped forward and paid deposits for us to buy vaccines. OK, but we need those European factories in the Netherlands, all those, Belgium, Italy, they must open them up and sell vaccines. We don't we didn't ask anyone for donation. So these are the facts'', Masiyiwa added.
Africa has had 5.5 million confirmed Covid-19 infections, and has seen a 23 percent increase in deaths over the past week, Nkengasong said.
Africa needs 1.6 billion doses in a double-dose program to vaccinate 60 percent of a population of 1.3 billion people.