The Quest for COVID-19 Vaccine in Africa


While Coronavirus might have had its origin traced back to the fall of 2019, it no doubt became a pandemic in February 2020, when it began to spread like wildfire in Western and much later African countries. Almost a year after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the virus a pandemic, the world is still struggling to put the rampaging virus at bay. Today, over 203 million cases have been recorded worldwide with more than 2.2 million death toll.

In Africa, where the virus seems to have had much lesser effect compared to the global north, more than 2.5 million cases of Covid-19 have been recorded with more than 24 thousand casualties. Without doubt, this is a pandemic that will linger in the minds of many for generations to come. Since the coronavirus pandemic became a global health concern, several efforts have been directed towards developing a vaccine in the shortest possible time to quell the rampaging severity of the pandemic in hopes of restoring normality as soon as possible. Thankfully, after almost a year into the pandemic, strides have been made and vaccines are now being delivered to people in some parts of the world.

While it is a sigh of relief that coronavirus vaccines are increasingly becoming available, it is however sad that Africa has to once again depend on the dexterity of its old colonial masters. What many scholars would term as imperialism. It is rather unfortunate that no African research institute, university, laboratory, or college has been instrumental in developing a vaccine for the deadly virus. This would have saved many African nations from enriching the global north and the Asian tigers in their bid to access Coronavirus Vaccines. Also, had this been the case, Africa’s position in global affairs would have been strengthened.

It is worth mentioning that these same realities have been the case since the beginning of the pandemic. As the entire continent has had to rely on the goodwill of other nations to get crucial testing materials and protective equipment to prevent the spread of the virus. This sad reality cannot be unlinked to the poor conditions of the health sectors of many African nations. Due to corruption, mismanagement, highhandedness, kleptomania among public office holders and so on, the health sector has been starved of funds, equipment, and personnel, thereby making it a toothless bulldog in the face of a pandemic.

Several African countries have already begun making preparations for Covid 19 vaccines and the tussle for vaccination may soon begin. This is a time of reflection for African leaders. For how long will the continent continue to depend on the Western and more recently, the Asian world for its survival? It is our hope that African leaders will learn from the realities of today and that the continent will begin a progressive journey towards social, political, and economic development.

©Fatherland Gazette

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