In view of the G20, 48 ambassadors and supporters of UNICEF in Africa have signed an Open Letter in which they ask world leaders to fulfill their promises to urgently distribute doses of vaccines against Covid-19.
As G20 leaders prepare to meet in Rome, this week 48 UNICEF ambassadors and supporters in Africa signed a Open letter in which they ask world leaders to fulfill their promises to urgently distribute the doses of vaccines against Covid-19, and write that, “the stakes could not be higher.” Likewise, the signatories of the letter ask the leaders to donate the vaccines before December, along with the necessary resources to be able to supply them.
Inequality in access to vaccines
According to a new UNICEF analysis, G20 countries have received 15 times more doses of Covid-19 vaccine per capita than sub-Saharan African countries (with the exception of South Africa which is one of the G20 countries). The survey, conducted by the scientific analysis company Airfinity, reveals the severity of the inequality in access to vaccines between high-income and low-income countries, especially in Africa. The per capita doses distributed to the G20 countries are 15 times higher than the per capita doses supplied to the sub-Saharan African countries; 15 times higher than the per capita doses received in low-income countries; 3 times higher than the per capita doses received by all other countries combined.
“Either we win together or we lose together”
For Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Director General, “unequal access to vaccines not only holds back the poorest countries, it holds back the world as a whole. As leaders meet to set priorities for the next phase of In the response to Covid-19, it is essential to remember that, in the race for the coronavirus vaccine, we either win together or we lose together. “
Donate doses through COVAX
Rich countries with more reserves than they need have generously pledged to donate these doses to low- and middle-income countries through COVAX, but the promised doses are being transferred too slowly. Of the 1.3 billion additional doses that countries have pledged to donate, only 194 million have been provided to COVAX. African countries, in particular, have been largely left without access to Covid-19 vaccines. Less than 5% of the African population is fully vaccinated, leaving many countries at high risk of new outbreaks.
Health workers who died from Covid-19
According to the WHO, it is estimated that between 80,000 and 180,000 health workers died worldwide from Covid-19 between January 2020 and March 2021. Less than 1 in 10 health workers in Africa have been fully vaccinated and more than 128,000 have been infected with the virus. The agency also noted that only 1 in 7 infections are tracked in Africa due to limited testing, meaning the actual number is likely much higher.