AFRICA NEEDS VACCINES
Still, Africa needs vaccines immediately.
As things stand, the US has optioned 1.96bn additional doses.
The European Commission has access to 1bn extra shots, while Canada has secured 191m (and at one stage had procured almost 10 vaccines per citizen).
Due to over-ordering, their populations will probably not use all these vaccines, but in the process of securing preferential agreements rich countries have effectively locked out African countries from accessing the doses they urgently require.
G7 leaders must now step in to ensure the supplies go where they are needed most.
Countries with excess supply must end their stranglehold on available vaccines and future supplies.
They must not only release them to Africa, but, as the IMF and four former American finance ministers proposed, provide at least $50bn in financial support through Covax and the logistical help needed to ensure vaccines can be administered quickly and safely.
Ensuring African populations have access to vaccines is not just an imperative for Africa.
It’s in all our enlightened self-interest.
As Britain’s leading vaccine scientist Sarah Gilbert has said, the biggest threat we all face is Covid spreading and mutating uninhibited in unvaccinated countries.
We must keep reminding ourselves of the reason for ensuring the mass vaccination of the entire world: no one is safe anywhere until everyone is safe everywhere, and everyone will live in fear until nobody does.