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Coronavirus

COVID-19: Local vaccine production crucial for Africa, says Osinbajo

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The Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has said that local COVID-19 vaccine production is crucial for Africa for it to meet up with its counterparts around the world.

Osinbajo said this while representing the President, Major Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meeting on Wednesday.

According to a statement signed by his media aide, Laolu Akande, Buhari noted Africa remained at risk because of its low level of vaccinations compared to the rest of the world, which puts the continent at a socio-economic disadvantage.

He said, “Without vaccination of a huge number of its people, Africa remains at continued risk of socio-economic stagnation, because continuing infections including from new variants, will prevent full recovery. There is evidence that the economic rebound in other parts of the world is positively related to the extent of vaccinations that they have undertaken.

“We appreciate the vaccines that have come to Africa through the COVAX Initiative and other bilateral donations, but there remains much more to be done. We must ensure that while we are at it, we must develop the collaborations to be able to produce vaccines within Africa itself.”

The president also appealed for resources to enable African countries to increase the scale of vaccinations on the continent, while adding that the disparity in levels of vaccinations were significantly low.

“To be sure, we need resources that will help increase the scale and pace of vaccinations against COVID-19 in Africa. The high and upper-middle-income countries have achieved vaccination rates of over 80%, while very few African countries have reached the 5% level of vaccination,” he added.

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