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Poorest countries could miss out on COVID-19 vaccine

from MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – THERE is renewed concern that billions of people will not receive the vaccine to curb the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) warned this was putting the global community at risk of prolonging this pandemic and its devastating knock-on effects.

Its concerns come as high-income countries begin to roll out COVID-19 vaccination campaigns.

The vast majority of people in conflict and crisis-affected contexts – and in low-income and many middle-income countries – will not be able to access a COVID-19 vaccine in 2021, and possibly for multiple years ahead.

COVAX, the global initiative to ensure rapid and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries regardless of income, expects the vaccines to reach at most 20 percent of populations across low and lower-middle income contexts.

“To ensure no one is left behind, investments must be made immediately to strengthen health systems,” said Mesfin Teklu Tessema, senior health director for the IRC.

Tessema called for the shoring up of supply chains, allocation of sustainable and adequate financing and empowering frontline and community health workers.

“To do this, we urge high-income countries to increase their investments to both the COVAX facility and broader humanitarian assistance that remains every bit as essential, especially given the severity of COVID-19’s secondary impacts.”

Over 91,3 million COVID-19 cases, including more than 1,95 million deaths have been recorded globally.

IRC recently joined forces with Gavi, the vaccine alliance, to enhance the delivery of vaccines to the most vulnerable within the Horn of Africa and the Sahel.

– CAJ News

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