Africa is asked to accept vaccines if virus war is won

An expert said that the adoption of the vaccination of available vaccines by some countries in Africa is likely to offset the gains made in public health.

Only two countries on the continent – Kenya and South Africa – are participating in Covid-19 vaccine trials.

Prof Omu Anzala from the Department of Medical Microbiology at the University of Nairobi encouraged countries in East Africa to form a consortium, buy the vaccines and test on their population.

“If countries gather resources, they are likely to negotiate doses at a cheaper price,” Prof Anzala said.

“Have local interventions and research and discoveries so we can know if the vaccine works. Let’s see if the strains match the vaccines that are being developed.”

He called on countries in Africa to set aside more money for vaccines, adding that Europe had already ordered billions of doses.

Prof Anzala said unless Africa develops vaccines for its population, the continent will have to allocate more money for a standard cold storage.

“Apart from the challenge of funding, there is also a need for Africa to prioritize the cold chain,” he said.

Prof Anzala said a discussion with health professionals, communities, opinion leaders and policy makers on the dangers of vaccination is needed.

Health workers in Uganda have refused to take part in a vaccine trial.

The government insists not to try to buy foreign vaccines.

“I understand the urge to secure the vaccine. However, my responsibility is not just to make access possible, but to ensure that we make the best choices,” said Mutahi Kagwe, secretary of the health cabinet.

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