The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) says it regrets the United Kingdom’s (UK) position not to recognise COVID-19 vaccines administered on the continent for travel to Britain. The ACDC says this goes against the spirit of solidarity and cooperation in fighting the pandemic.
The United Kingdom says a person in Africa who has received a jab of a vaccine distributed by the United Kingdom will not be recognised as having been vaccinated for the purpose of travel to England.
The Africa CDC says this is discriminatory considering that Africa has been receiving AstraZeneca jabs from the same UK, through the COVAX facility and more as donations.
“The UK has been an instrumental partner in supplying vaccines to the continent and which we appreciate, if in the same token you send us vaccines and we use vaccines and you say you don’t recognize people that have been vaccinated with those vaccines then it is a very challenging message for us. A message which creates confusion within our own population and a message that doesn’t really speak to solidarity and cooperation that we all believe are the cornerstones and ingredients for us to emergency out of this pandemic together,” says Dr. John Nkengasong, Africa CDC Director.
The UK says it is working with countries globally to recognise more vaccine certification programmes.
UK COVID-19 red list comes under fire:
Britain’s High Commission in Kenya says it is in talks with the government in Nairobi on a system to recognise each other’s vaccine certificates.
Dr. Nkegasong warns that such policies will make the pandemic remain a challenge globally.
“We have seen that even in countries that are fully vaccinated the variants come in unchallenged. It means that we really need to try to be more cooperative and express more solidarity than sending confusing messages that will lead to eventually harming the efforts of what we are doing in Africa,” says Nkengasong.
The continent is far from getting enough vaccine supply: Africa has so far reported over 8 million cases of COVID-19 and has acquired 181 million doses of vaccines reaching just 4% of the continent’s population.
Meanwhile, Nkengasong has termed as speculative – media reports that US president Joe Biden’s administration will appoint him to lead the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEFPAR).
Any nomination by any president is a prerogative of that president and we have not seen an official announcement from President Biden other than a media report so anything will be speculative.
In the meantime, he is pushing for developed nations to send more vaccines to Africa.
South Africa to intensify efforts to get off the UK’s red list: