In Africa, concerns over AstraZeneca worsen mistrust of vaccines

Published on : 08/04/2021 – 23:59

                As Africa tries to catch up in vaccination against Covid-19, the latest announcements from the European regulator risk putting the brakes on it.  On Wednesday, the European Medicines Agency recognized “ a possible link "Between the AstraZeneca vaccine and" very rare »Cases of thrombosis.  Added to this is a mistrust of vaccines which still remains high on the continent.             

It is the most widely used vaccine in Africa, and the one that causes the most concern. AstraZeneca, inexpensive and easy to store, has already been distributed to around 30 African countries, up to 24 million doses, according to the World Health Organization.

The WHO again advocated its use Thursday, April 8 during an online press briefing, despite the controversy around its side effects. “ When the risks, which are extremely limited, are compared with the potential benefits conferred by this vaccine: reduction of severe cases, reduction of hospitalizations and mortality; the benefits are largely in favor of continuing vaccination with AstraZeneca Said Richard Mihigo, WHO immunization program coordinator.

Fears over the safety of the Swedish-British vaccine had seen countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon suspend their vaccinations with AstraZeneca last month as a precaution.

Recognizing “ worries “In Africa towards the AstraZeneca vaccine, Mohamed Malick Fall, Regional Director of Unicef ​​for Eastern and Southern Africa stressed the importance of combating” disinformation », In particular by appealing to influencers such as Angélique Kidjo.

« Angelique Kidjo has been widely reported in the media indicating how much during her childhood vaccination saved her and allowed her to become what she is today. These are campaigns that must be launched and given the same importance as the availability of the vaccine. »

On availability, Africa has received less than 2% of the vaccines administered worldwide, that is to say 30 million doses out of about 700 million, according to the WHO.

            

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