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CORONA VIRUS

Misinformation Makes Africans Wary of Covid Vaccines

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Ongoing misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines is contributing to skepticism from many people across Africa, leading them to shun jabs, the African Union (AU) has said.

The statement was made by William Carew, head of the Secretariat of AU’s Economic Social and Cultural Council, as he urged Africans to get vaccinated if herd immunity is to be achieved.

Only 3.6% of Africa’s population is fully vaccinated against coronavirus so far.

“There has been a lot of misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccines that had contributed to many people being wary of getting vaccinated,” an AU statement issued Tuesday quoting Mr Carew said.

He made the remarks during Covid-19 vaccines capacity building and sensitisation meeting, which was held recently as part of a continental campaign aimed at promoting the accessibility and use of the vaccines in order to build herd immunity in Africa.

The official called on Africans to implement public health experts’ assertion that vaccination remains the only realistic path to finally halting the spread of the virus, given its ease of transmissibility and ability to mutate.

“I want to urge you all to take this opportunity to get the right information about the vaccines and help us to educate the communities that you operate in,” Mr Carew told representatives of African civil society organisations at the meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that as the COVAX facility is forced to slash planned vaccine deliveries to Africa by around 150 million this year, the continent faces a shortage of almost 500 million doses. This is short of the global year-end target of fully vaccinating 40% of its population.

With the cutback, COVAX is now expected to deliver 470 million doses to Africa this year, which will be enough to vaccinate just 17% of the population, far below the 40% target.

An additional 470 million doses are needed to reach the end-year target even if all planned shipments via COVAX, a multilateral initiative aimed at guaranteeing global access to lifesaving Covid-19 vaccines, and the AU are delivered, according to the WHO.

As of Tuesday noon, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Africa reached 8,166,634 while the death toll from the pandemic stood at 206,740, according to the latest figures from the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

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CORONA VIRUS

Tanzania Receives Over One Million COVID-19 Vaccine Doses From China

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Tanzania on Friday received 1,065,600 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine from China under COVAX, boosting the east African nation’s vaccination campaign against COVID-19.

Speaking shortly after receiving the vaccines, Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Dorothy Gwajima expressed gratitude for the vaccines, saying the donation will help accelerate Tanzania’s vaccination campaign launched by President Samia Suluhu Hassan on July 28.

COVAX is a global program aimed at providing equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

She said a total of 760,962 citizens have been vaccinated on Tanzania’s mainland and 10,800 citizens have received the jabs in Zanzibar as of October 7.

Xu Chen, Minister Counsellor and Deputy Chief of Mission at the Chinese Embassy in Tanzania, said the donated vaccines will bolster Tanzania’s fight against the pandemic.

He said the Chinese government and Tanzania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation are working very closely to facilitate the donation of two consignments totaling about 1.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from China.

The hand-over ceremony at Julius Nyerere International Airport in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam was attended by high-ranking government officials and representatives from the United Nations, the World Health Organization and the UN Children’s Fund.

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CORONA VIRUS

Museveni To Be Retested After Aides Test Positive For COVID-19

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Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni will be retested for COVID-19 after three of his aides tested positive for the virus, his physician said Friday.

Museveni’s consultant physician, Joseph Okiria, tweeted that the aides had tested positive on their return with the President from trips to the United Arab Emirates and Ethiopia.

“Following President Museveni’s recent return from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Addis Ababa, three presidential aides have tested positive for COVID-19.

This despite best efforts and measures including daily PCR testing and full vaccination,” Okiria said. He said the staff who tested positive had been isolated and were receiving care.

“The President and other members of the team tested negative and will be retested,” Okiria added. “This highlights the continued difficulty of safe travel during the pandemic and the importance of testing all inbound and outbound travelers,” the physician added.

The number of daily infections in the east African country continued to drop, with less than 100 cases being registered, according to the health ministry.

The Ugandan government recently resolved that incoming and outbound travelers would be tested for COVID-19.

As of Friday, 124,437 total infections had been registered with 3,172 deaths and 96,237 recoveries since the outbreak started in March 2020, according to the ministry of health.

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CORONA VIRUS

Slovakia Donates 280,000 Doses Of COVID-19 Vaccines To Rwanda

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Rwanda has received 280,000 doses of Astra Zeneca vaccine donated by Slovakia. 

The delivery of the vaccines is coordinated through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism (EUCPM), which Rwanda applied to in order to access the vaccines. 

Responding to calls for vaccine justice and solidarity, Slovakia joins the EU in Kigali to donate the vaccines and commends Rwanda’s efforts in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Slovak Ambassador, Katarína Žuffa Leligdonová in Kenya said that, “Slovakia has heard loud and clear the calls for vaccine justice. Covid pandemics can only be successfully overcome if we join forces together. That is why Slovakia has joined in the EU family in Kigali and provide 280 000 Astra Zenecca vaccines to help Rwandan government and people to tackle this pandemics.”

The Head of Delegation of the European Union to Rwanda, Ambassador Nicola Bellomo said; “The EU is proud to have assisted the arrival of the vaccines through the EUCPM. The EU stands in solidarity with Rwanda, both multilaterally by supporting the COVAX facility, but also bilaterally by mobilising vaccines donated by our Member States through the EUCPM, and by working with Rwanda to create the framework necessary to attract foreign investment into vaccines manufacturing in the country”.

The EU finances 75% of the transport costs of the assistance sent through the EUPCM.

Through this Mechanism, the EU helps coordinate and finance the delivery of vaccines, medical and protective equipment and other material which are donated by EU Member states across Europe and the world, to countries that seek assistance.

Slovakia remains a staunch supporter of international solidarity through multilateralism and the COVAX facility.

Two weeks ago, Slovak President Ms. Zuzana Čaputová emphasised in her speech at the United Nations General Assembly that solidarity should be a binding principle, not an option. Slovakia will continue supporting all efforts to help making vaccines accessible to all.

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