ALGIERS- Algerian Foreign Minister Sabri Boukadoum said, on Saturday, that unequal access to vaccines in Africa should be addressed “urgently”, warning of the adverse effects of “fierce competition” for vaccines.
During his intervention at the meeting of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) on the management of the Covid-19 pandemic in Africa, Mr. Boukadoum stressed that “the question of the unequal access to vaccines and the multiple challenges it entails (on human security in the continent), should be highlighted and addressed urgently “.
On this occasion, the Algerian foreign minister who chaired the meeting noted “the emergence of new challenges due to inequalities and disparities in access to vaccines”, indicating that African countries are directly exposed to the phenomenon called today ‘Hui “vaccine nationalism”.
The minister also did not fail to express his frustration with the deficit which arises in the current phase in terms of vaccines.
Mr. Boukadoum further deplored “the fierce competition for vaccines which has led many countries to purchase quantities far greater than their needs, leaving others, especially in Africa, in the fight to protect workers from the health and vulnerable groups “.
To support his remarks, he cited in particular the figures put forward by the WHO.
According to the UN agency, until early May 2021, more than 1.59 billion doses of vaccine have been administered worldwide, more than 84% of which are intended for high-income and upper-middle-income countries.
While in Africa, on average, less than 2 in 100 people (or 2%) have received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, in some high-income countries, more than 8 in 10 people (i.e. 80%) were achieved.
These figures reflect, according to him, enormous inequalities between countries and regions.
A real threat to Africans
According to the Minister, without sufficient access to vaccines, “the pandemic will continue to threaten the survival and livelihoods of Africans, while exerting increased pressure on already fragile health systems”.
Also, the prolonged effects of Covid-19 represent “a real threat to peace and security on the African continent, by exacerbating political tensions and worsening unfavorable humanitarian situations, in particular in countries and regions affected by the conflict” .
In addition, Mr. Boukadoum considered that “without a broad vaccination against COVID-19, African economies will continue to be negatively affected by the constraints and restrictions”.
Therefore, “levels of poverty and food insecurity in Africa are likely to increase dramatically, creating a climate with high potential for instability and conflict,” he argued.
Extrait de l’intervention du ministre des Affaires étrangères, #Sabri_Boukadoum, qui a présidé aujourd’hui la réunion ministérielle du Conseil de paix et de sécurité de l'Union africaine pic.twitter.com/08XxKGFYE6
— Radio Algérienne (@radioalgerie) May 22, 2021