‘Until Everyone Is Safe, No One Is Safe’: Africa Awaits The COVID-19 Vaccine

A volunteer gets a shot as part of a COVID-19 vaccine trial at Sowetos Chris Sani Baragwanath Hospital outside Johannesburg on Nov. 30, 2020.

Jerome Delay/AP

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Jerome Delay/AP

A volunteer receives a shot as part of a COVID-19 vaccine trial at Sowetos Chris Sani Baragwanath Hospital outside Johannesburg on Nov. 30, 2020.

Jerome Delay/AP

Vaccination at this speed, on this scale is unmatched. And even the United States has actually discovered logistical issues. Its really hard to get countless dosages to countless people in an extremely brief time. Are there even greater logistical challenges in parts of Africa?

Yes, it does. I imply, Liberia dealt with the very same thing in the early days of Ebola, but we were able to conquer it through strong government action. And leaders need to be able to convey this, the intensity of this disease to their lives and to their livelihoods in very clear terms with very clear action and strong dedication not just to create those steps, but to find a method to guarantee their people understand and are ready to comply for their own safety.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient and former president of Liberia, states much of Africa might be neglected till next year.

Bloomberg has actually been publishing a map which reveals the level of vaccine distribution in different nations and essentially the entire continent of Africa– more than 50 various countries– is blank.

You cant have various entities included in the health sector or involved in the financial sector. Thats the only method you can win the confidence of residents to ensure that even if you have the means to resolve it, that they take the medication or they adhere to the procedure, whether its a mask or whether its social distancing. And of course, in a case of Ebola, once again, strong partnerships since there too the 3 affected countries did not have the resources to get the medication and to get the kind of support that was necessary.

Sirleaf recalls the Ebola outbreak, which struck her country, amongst others, in West Africa in 2015. Last year, she was asked to co-chair an evaluation of the global reaction to the coronavirus pandemic. And, in an interview with NPRs Morning Edition, she states Africa is in danger of being left.

Interview Highlights

When Africa put up a platform to make sure that the medications and the reactions to Ebola were made available through assistance of African nations, that this platform was used to guarantee equitable distribution amongst those African countries in requirement. Of course, there were minimal nations at that time due to the fact that Ebola affected the three neighboring countries in West Africa. Maybe distribution was much easier as our population in those nations are much smaller than others.

In the U.S., there are a lot of people who have revealed uncertainty about masking and social distancing. And theres likewise a very widespread uncertainty of vaccines.

” In Africa, we dont have the resources. Its as simple as that,” Sirleaf says “Unless vaccine is viewed as a free good on the basis that till everybody is safe, nobody is safe– when its seen because context, then maybe the wealthier nations of the world will develop a formula that states, how can we share the vaccine with those countries that are under resourced?”

We must remember that Ebola was an extreme stress on the societies of a variety of countries. What were some of the manner ins which you learned to attend to public anxiety and to get authentic healthcare to individuals?

As slow as the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has been in the United States, some estimates say billions of individuals around the globe wont be vaccinated for COVID-19 up until 2022 or 2023.

Were you shocked that this infection got out of control in a manner that Ebola did not?

Jeevika Verma, William Jones and Jan Johnson produced and edited the audio variation of this story. Avie Schneider produced for the Web.

I must say, in the case of Ebola, I said initially we face the very same problem– the issue of confidence that individuals who thought maybe this was, you know, someone attempting to restrict their ability to move about, their rights to freedom. Its up to leaders to attend to those fears and those concerns and to make sure that they conquer them.

Sirleaf remembers the Ebola break out, which struck her nation, amongst others, in West Africa in 2015. When Africa put up a platform to ensure that the medications and the responses to Ebola were made offered through assistance of African countries, that this platform was used to guarantee fair distribution amongst those African countries in need. Of course, there were limited countries at that time since Ebola impacted the 3 surrounding nations in West Africa. Maybe circulation was much easier as our population in those countries are much smaller than others. And of course, in a case of Ebola, once again, strong partnerships since there too the 3 afflicted nations did not have the resources to get the medication and to get the kind of support that was necessary.