Africa turns to Russia, China for COVID-19 vaccine
Topics: AFRICA RUSSIA CHINA
While Morocco, Algeria, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Sierra Leone, Senegal, and Equatorial Guinea have already received Chinese supplies, the African Union (AU) has said it is planning to acquire 300 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine to inoculate people across the continent.
Kenya and Guinea are in talks with both countries to procure the jabs. Nigeria and Algeria have received doses from both China and Russia.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Iqbal Jassat, an official at the Johannesburg-based Media Review Network advocacy group, said Western countries have been hoarding vaccines, leaving poorer countries little option but to seek alternative sources.
He said the countries which got vaccines from China and Russia were the first to start inoculating their population.
For instance, Algeria launched a vaccination campaign after it received the first batch of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine in late January. Egypt too started vaccinations after it got China’s Sinopharm vaccine around the same time.
For want of resources, most of the countries in sub-Saharan African countries are awaiting supplies from COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) – a global alliance led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and the World Health Organization (WHO).
“COVID-19 has among others brought into sharp focus the global inequalities and the huge chasm between rich and poor. The delay in inoculation also demonstrates huge economic disparities especially between the North and sub-Saharan Africa,” said Jassat.
He said that China and Russia seem to have benefited from the delays of western countries to supply drugs to Africa, which were themselves hit hard and busy securing millions of doses for their populations. ■