Buhari Warns World Leaders On Danger Of Hoarding COVID-19 Vaccines

President Muhammadu Buhari has warned world leaders and global health institutions that sidelining countries in terms of access to COVID-19 vaccines will diminish the exclusive endeavor for immunity.

The Nigerian leader rose the alarm while delivering a keynote lecture at the Paris Peace Forum (PPF), on Thursday.

According to him, export regulations that facilitated needless hoarding of vaccines needed to be lifted, while welcoming the commitments by industrialised nations to share vaccines.

As contained in a statement published by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, the president said the promises should be fulfilled in a timely manner as he acknowledged some countries, like France, that had donated vaccines to developing countries.

Furthermore, he advised them to pursue an administration of facilitating access to the COVID-19 vaccines.

“Resolving supply-chain constraints would require better coordination within the manufacturing process; and between manufacturers and end-users.

“There is a clear need for the expansion of vaccine production capacity in Africa. In this regard, African countries already have a roadmap: the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa (PMPA) developed in 2007 by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) on the basis of an African Union Summit decision taken in 2005.”

“Licensing agreements should be reached with pharmaceutical companies for the transfer of intellectual property and technology to support the production of vaccines in Africa. If global vaccination is the only way to end the COVID-19 pandemic, then all stakeholders must act in a coordinated manner to plug the vaccine supply gap in Africa,’’ he said.

Speaking on “Lessons Learned from the Covid-19 Pandemic: The Importance of Coordination Among All Actors for Vaccine Delivery,” Buhari said the coordination for distribution had to be total and the objective had to be the same: to deliver vaccines to the world.

“The state of vaccine delivery across the world leaves much to be desired,’’ he said,

“We have a situation where some countries are giving booster third doses for their citizens when millions across the world, especially in the developing world, are yet to receive a single dose.’’

“Let us compare vaccination rates to give an idea of the dimension of the problem. According to recent data, as of 4th November, 2021. 91.3 doses of vaccine had been given for every 100 persons across the world. On the same date, however, only 14.7 doses of vaccine per 100 persons had been administered in Africa – a clear case of lopsidedness. According to Bloomberg, countries with the highest incomes are getting vaccinated ten times faster than those with the lowest income.

“As of 5th November 2021, Africa had fully vaccinated 77 million persons, amounting to just 6 per cent of the continent’s population. By comparison, 60 per cent of the European Union population had been fully vaccinated by September 2021.

“This massive gap between vaccine requirements in Africa and vaccine availability is undermining the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic on the continent.

“Even if Africa were to receive the 600 million doses of vaccine expected to be delivered to the continent by the end of 2021 under the COVAX arrangement there would still be a considerable shortfall when compared to the population of the continent which currently stands at 1.383 billion,’’ he concluded.

Citing the World Health Organisation, the Nigerian Leader said even the intended COVAX deliveries to Africa had been slashed by 25 per cent as a result of supply scarcities and export bans.

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