By Kole Omotoso
|(FILES) In this file photo vials of undiluted Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)|
A few days ago, we were told that only three countries on the African continent have begun vaccinating its citizens. The countries are Algeria, Egypt and South Africa. The countries are in the extremes of Africa. They are mainly populated by settlers who have become Africans. All the three countries have some manufacturing infrastructure if it came to manufacturing the vaccines. Yet, they did not manufacture the vaccine. They obtained them from the countries that worked on them. As this is being filed, a solemn column of Ghanaian dignitaries are walking behind a trailer of load loaded with hundreds of thousands of vaccines. The scene looked grim yet there was a pick up in their steps that it was easy to see they were welcoming something important, something valuable.
I remember the other countries in which the delivery of vaccines has arrived, European, Asian, North American and South American countries.
In the case of South Africa, more than two manufacturers delivered to the extent the South Africa is giving to African countries. The contingent that arrived in Ghana today arrived from India. Few countries have been prepared to accept responsibility to produce the vaccine in their own countries. India is one of those few countries.
India is one country that has manufactured generic medicine before and still continues to manufacture them once their ten-year patent has expired.
The matter of the reproduction of medication caused trouble between international medicine companies and South Africa. They went and came back from court without settlement. I think they finally settled out of court. From that time South Africa was allowed to make cheaper versions AIDS, TB and malaria medications. This arrangement made expensive medication cheaper for South Africans to consume.
With four countries supplied, we are left with fifty countries. With South Africa as the Chair of AU this year, it should not be difficult for South Africa to sing for them.
North Africa would be the easiest. The countries located there are few. Israel is vaccinating the Palestinians. West Africa should be easy as well. All the countries of West Africa travel on the same passport and do not need visas into each other’s country.
The Horn of Africa, Ethiopia and some North Africa countries because of the dam that Ethiopia wishes to construct near the source of the Nile without consulting Egypt.
There is no doubt that Egypt has enjoyed the situation in colonial times. Egypt was part of Great Britain and so there was no need for Egypt to seek permission for whatever Egypt wanted to do until modern times.
Southern, Central and Eastern Africa are going to be difficult to organise. The easiest might be to bring all the vaccine to Addis Ababa, divide the vaccine there. Each geographical area will cart their own in the direction of their home. This is not a clean way of doing things. There are some parts of the continent where the colonial boundaries are still to be concluded. Must the African Union solve these problems before solving the new ones?
It would seem that the African Union did not set up any committee to sort out the solution to the problem.
Right now, with the world taking delivery of Russian around the world the Russians are not rushing forward to vaccinate their citizens. Vladimir Putin, one of the greatest showman politicians has not asked to be publicly vaccinated. For a country where there is an element of vaccination shyness, there is a need to carry out such propaganda. Maybe it will still be done. For now, what seems to interest Russia is to fill its sovereign wealth with foreign dollars.
While the vaccine was in research, there was the expression around the world that the vaccine would not be for profit.
It had better not be for profit. The whole world would suffer for it. This is a pandemic and as a pandemic should it be solved.
There were people who did not care about the virus while the world was spending sleepless nights looking for a cure. I am sure they do not care now that a cure has been found. And what’s more they will not partake of the curative.
There are those for religious reasons would not take the vaccination. COVID-19 has no part in their lives and so, there is no room in their lives for something as mysterious and as evil as COVID-19.
There has to be place on this earth for all sorts of people, people who agree and people who do not agree. In spite of these people, the world goes on. There are people who do not believe that astronauts are arriving and departing the Moon and Mars now in spite of their non-belief.
One day before the election of November 3, Trump claimed that he was sure nobody would hear a word about COVID-19 after the election. After all, the COVID-19 was invented to cheat him of the election. I was genuinely perplexed and I knew that things were more serious than that. And as things turned out COVID-19 lives on.
But what did the criminal do when the disease continued its ravages in America and the rest of the world? Looked for lies to tell. And people still believe him and follow him. A tear and a half for such cretin.
Yet the world will still rejoice over this disease and celebrate worldwide. At no point in the struggle did the world relax and stop paying attention to what needs to be done. Such attention cannot but be rewarded. Nothing was spared to go after what was needed to reach the goal. Even when the goal was not clear. When other examples said that these things take years, people persevered and continued the struggle. And because they persevered, they were rewarded.
Those who did not come along, where are they now? They wish they had come along. They wish they could be counted among the winners but no. The celebrants are in front dancing away with the prize of victory.
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