In what it describes as ‘one of the greatest betrayals of our times’, Amnesty International (AI) says Africa was denied life-saving Covid-19 vaccines by wealthy countries and big pharmaceuticals.

In its annual assessment report of human rights around the world, titled Amnesty International Report 2021/22: The State of the World’s Human Rights, AI said African countries were struggling to recover from Covid-19 due to high levels of inequality and poverty.

With less than eight percent of the continent’s population fully vaccinated by the end of 2021, Africa has the lowest vaccination rate in the world.

‘Covid-19 should have been a decisive wake-up call to deal with inequality and poverty. Instead, we have seen deeper inequality and greater instability in Africa exacerbated by global powers, especially rich countries, who failed to ensure that big pharma distributed vaccines equally between states to ensure the same level of recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic’, AI’s Director for East and Southern Africa, Deprose Muchena, said in a statement.

‘As things stand now, most African countries will take long to recover from Covid-19 due to high levels of inequality and poverty.

‘The after-effects of Covid-19 have been most damaging to the most marginalised communities, including those on the front lines of endemic poverty from Angola to Zambia, Ethiopia to Somalia and the Central African Republic to Sierra Leone’.

AI said the pandemic highlighted Africa’s chronic lack of investment in health sectors over many decades, with the already inadequate health care systems in most countries severely strained, especially during the pandemic’s third wave.

The African Union (AU) had accused vaccine manufacturers of denying African countries a fair chance to buy Covid-19 vaccines and urged manufacturing countries to lift export restrictions on vaccines and their components.

Several campaigners, including the People’s Vaccine Alliance and the Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO), have called on the European Union (EU), United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany to approve the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver to ensure greater access to vaccines in low income countries (LICs).

Source: Amnesty International

Photo source:  Amnesty International


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