An African proverb once said, “If you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far, go together”. Vaccine nationalism poses a major threat to the global economy as countries are scrambling to be the first to inoculate their populations – these efforts will be fruitless if developing countries are left behind.
Vaccine nationalism occurs when governments sign agreements with pharmaceutical manufacturers to supply their own populations with vaccines ahead of them becoming available for other countries.
In an effort to bring in a Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) regional approach to COVID-19 vaccines debacle, Pharma Connect Africa together with AUDA-NEPAD Southern Africa Network for Biosciences (SANBio) to host a live webinar discussion on how regional economic communities in Africa and elsewhere can quickly respond to pandemics and efficiently use resources in order to combat COVID-19 and future pandemics. Such approaches may include setting up regional (rather than national) scientific advisory committees, harmonization of medicine and health products approvals and strategic vaccine procurement which ensures that no one country in the region is left behind. If regional approaches are not crafted and implemented the potential for disease clusters to occur are high and these will ultimately reverse the gains of the other countries.
“We are not safe until everyone in the region have received their doses of COVID-19 vaccines. We need international solidarity now more than ever, especially in Africa,” Dr Evaristo Benyera, Associate Professor of Africa Politics at the University of South Africa (UNISA).
“From the casual observer there appears to be little coordination and information sharing around key response strategies such as national lockdowns, transboundary movement, testing standards and pooled procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and vaccines. SADC, like other regional blocs including European Union, has lacked an integrated and leading approach in the response of member states,” Prof Benyera added.
In Africa, only four countries have begun administering vaccines to their populations. Morocco is ahead of the pack having administered 200,081 doses, Seychelles is a distant second on 30,861, Egypt has managed 1,315 while Algeria is fourth with a measly 30 vaccinations. South Africa will soon roll out its vaccination campaigns after receiving one million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines.
The webinar will be hosted virtually via Zoom and promises to bring together researchers, scholars and thought leaders from the SADC region and EU to discuss the lessons which need to be learnt in these critical times.
- Professor David Katerere, Tshwane University of Technology Research Chair, Pharmaceutical and Biotech Advancement in Africa
- Dr Ereck Chakauya, AUDA-NEPAD SANBio Network Manager
Date – 10 February 2021
Time – 14.00 – 15.30 Central African Time
Meeting ID: 870 6431 8965
RSVP by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Participants can also expect to hear from speakers such as, Professor Tinyiko Maluleko – Senior Research Fellow, University of Pretoria Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship; Professor Francisca Mutapi – Deputy Director of the NIHR Global Health Research Unit Tracking Infections to Benefit Africa, University of Edinburgh; Kirti Narsai – Director, HealthValue Consulting; Victor Rameetse and South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA), ZAZIBONA and Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ).
By Kelebohile Sedieane | source: Daily Maverick