President Lazarus Chakwera has once again accused rich nations and vaccine producers of continuing to segregate against Africa on Covid-19 vaccines, saying what is happening is against human dignity and equality.
In an interview on France 24 television on Tuesday in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, he agreed with South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa that the current situation creates ‘vaccine apartheid’ where richer nations continue to cling to vaccines.
Chakwera said: “You know in terms of accessibility, production and even in terms of upholding human dignity for those of us who have been vaccinated and then being treated by certain countries as if we have not been vaccinated, yet it’s the same vaccines that they have had.
“So, we want equal access and we want Africans to be able to produce vaccines for Africans and we want to be treated just like everybody else so that there is mutual trust even when we handle such things.”
He said he expected international organisations, including the World Trade Organisation and World Health Organisation to take up the matter so that more vaccines are brought to Africa, including Malawi where only a few people have been vaccinated.
Chakwera said: “What I am telling you is that this is a worldwide pandemic, so what would i t prof i t any organisation or any pharmaceut ical company if they have millions and millions of vaccines while people are dying? Is that the way that humanity needs to treat each other?”
Poor uptake of the vaccines has, however, hampered the roll-out in Malawi. By Tuesday, Malawi administered 1 797 202 vaccine doses. Cumulatively 659 560 and 282 978 people have received the first and second doses of AstraZeneca vaccine.
Malawi has so far received 2 135 390 vaccine doses in different shipments, that include 1 459 040 doses of AstraZeneca and 664 350 doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
This month, the country is expected to receive 360 000 doses of AstraZeneca and another 372 000 doses of Pfizer vaccine.
In an update on Tuesday, Health Minister Khumbidze Kandodo Chiponda said data shows that vaccines are working as the majority that is being admitted in treatment units and those dying from Covid-19 are un-vaccinated.
Recently, the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, through Minister of Information Gospel Kazako, said it has devised measures to boost uptake of the vaccine and protect lives.
Cumul a t ivel y, Malawi has recorded 61 766 cases including 2 296 deaths, representing a Case Fatality Rate of 3.72 percent. Of these cases, 2 671 are imported infections and 59 095 are locally transmitted.