“Let’s get vaccines on the continent,” Ahmed Ogwell, acting head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a weekly media briefing. He described a situation where the African continent of 1.3 billion people is again being left behind in the uneasy echo of the COVID-19 pandemic in access to food.
Less than a week ago, the World Health Organization declared monkeypox an “extraordinary” condition, which qualifies as a global health emergency.
So far, more than 20,000 cases have been reported in 77 countries. More than 2,100 monkeypox cases have been reported in 11 African countries and 75 people have died, Africa CDC said the director.
Although monkeypox has been established in parts of Central and West Africa for decades, it was not known to cause large outbreaks beyond the continent or spread widely among people until May, when officials detected dozens of epidemics in Europe, North America and elsewhere.
Now the global race to get a dose of monkeypox vaccine is on. The European CommissionThe The European UnionThe executive branch of the U.S. has secured the purchase of 160,000 doses of vaccines for the disease. On Wednesday, US health regulators said about 800,000 doses of the monkeypox vaccine would soon be available for distribution in what they described as a delay of weeks.
Such delays are far more pronounced on the African continent, where the painful disease has been endemic for years in some countries.
Ogwell said the Africa CDC has worked with international partners in efforts to obtain the vaccine, and added that while he expects “good news” in the coming days, “we can’t give you a timeline.”
Ogwell said even doses of the smallpox vaccine, which has shown effectiveness against monkeypox, are not available in Africa.
“Solutions need to be global in nature,” he said, warning the international community. “If we are not safe, the rest of the world is not safe either.”
The COVID-19 pandemic and the global hoarding of vaccine doses came as a blow to African leaders, who joined together in an unprecedented effort to quickly obtain doses and set up production of more vaccines on the continent.
Now, to their dismay, the wrath of the monkeys is showing again how the world’s rich countries hurry to protect their people first.
The WHO has said it is building a vaccine-sharing mechanism to protect against monkeypox, but the organization has released few details, so there is no guarantee that African countries will get priority. No country has yet agreed to share any vaccine with the WHO.
WHO officials have emphasized that monkeypox can infect anyone in close contact with a patient or their contaminated clothing or bedsheets. Researchers are still figuring out how it spreads, but they believe it mainly occurs through close skin-to-skin contact and contact with bedding and clothing that is exposed to the rash or body of an infected person. touches the liquid.
In Africa, monkeypox is mainly spread to people in limited outbreaks by infected wild animals such as rodents that do not usually cross borders. However, in Europe, North America, and elsewhere, monkeypox is spreading among people who have no animal relationship or have recently traveled to Africa.
in America. and Europe, most infections have occurred among men who have sex with men, although health officials insist that anyone can contract the virus.