First modification: 07/08/2021 – 18:13
The director of the WHO mechanism announced that she plans to increase the volume of vaccine distribution from September. In other news, Russian media report that the European Commission could propose to Russia that they mutually validate their vaccines; in parallel, France advises its nationals not to vacation in Spain and Portugal due to the risk of contagion.
The WHO COVAX mechanism announced this Thursday, July 8, that its goal is to deliver 520 million doses of vaccines against Covid-19 to the African continent in 2021. The news comes two days after experts gathered in Geneva, Switzerland, alerted that the world could not afford a “two-speed pandemic”, as Norwegian Development Minister Dag-Inge Ulstein stated, alluding to the enormous inequality in the distribution of vaccines.
The world has registered more than 185.2 million cases of Covid-19 and the pandemic has already claimed more than four million lives.
Meanwhile, at least 3.343 million doses have been administered on the planet and less than 2% of these have been injected in Africa. Here are some of the most important news around the pandemic this Thursday, July 8:
- COVAX Alliance promises 520 million vaccine doses for Africa in 2021
The announcement was made by Aurélia Nguyen, director of the WHO COVAX mechanism. According to the senior executive of the GAVI program (the alliance for vaccines that co-directs the COVAX project), so far this year 21 million doses have been delivered to 44 African countries. Nguyen said she was not satisfied with this balance at an event organized by the WHO continent office.
The goal of 520 million doses by 2021 is lower than the 720 million that the GAVI director had secured in March. At the end of that month, India imposed a restriction on the export of vaccines amid the deadly second wave of infections in the country. The COVAX mechanism, highly dependent on the Serum Institute of India, saw its capabilities limited and that is why this Thursday Nguyen said that shipments to Africa will increase from September, with the relaxation of the Indian blockade.
“So far, 50 million doses have been administered in #Africa, accounting for just 1.6% of doses globally. 16 million (or less than 2%) of Africans are now fully vaccinated. This means that hundreds of millions of people are still vulnerable to infection. “-Dr @MoetiTshidi
– WHO African Region (@WHOAFRO) July 8, 2021
The gap in the vaccination rate, however, remains difficult to close. Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, put it this way at Thursday’s event:
“So far 50 million doses have been administered in Africa, which is equivalent to only 1.6% of those injected globally. 16 million (or less than 2%) of Africans are fully vaccinated. This means that hundreds of millions people are still vulnerable to contagion. “
- European Commission would be willing to negotiate with Russia the mutual recognition of their vaccination certificates
According to the Russian agency Tass, the ambassador of the European Union in Russia would have shown willingness to negotiate with the government of Vladimir Putin a mechanism for the parties to recognize their corresponding vaccination documents. According to Tass, Ambassador Markus Ederer stressed that the EU is using a digital certificate system that allows its citizens to move freely around the block and that there is a law that provides for the approval of similar certificates.
“In that spirit, we have approached the Russian Ministry of Health and proposed to discuss whether Russia would be interested in a process like this,” Ederer said. At a press conference, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that some agreement could be reached.
So far, four vaccines have been approved in Russia, none of which have been recognized in the European Union.
- France recommends its nationals not to travel to Spain and Portugal this summer
The French Minister for European Affairs, Clement Beaune, said Thursday that he did not recommend traveling to Spain and Portugal this summer due to the risk of contagion with the Delta variant of Covid-19.
“To all those who have not yet booked their holidays, I say: avoid Spain and Portugal as a destination. It is a prudent advice, a recommendation,” Beaune told the chain ‘France 2’.
Later the minister clarified that “trips to Spain and Portugal, as well as to any other part of Europe, are still authorized.” And he added that he sent his message of caution because Portugal and Catalonia are “strongly impacted by the Delta variant.”