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Africa CDC slams discrimination in COVID-19 vaccine campaigns

By Fatima Sule [NAN]

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Countries should make COVID-19 vaccines available to all residents, independent of their nationality, the Africa Centres for Disease Control (CDC) said on Thursday.

“There cannot be discrimination. Anyone living in a country should have access to the vaccine,” Africa CDC Director John Nkengasong said during an online media briefing.

Excluding people based on their country of origin would defeat the vaccination programme’s goal of reaching herd immunity, which is achieved when a large part of the population is immune to the virus, Nkengasong added.

“One should condemn any country that segregates people by national origins,” he said.

Nkengasong also criticised the travel curbs implemented by many countries, which have “red-listed” other countries due to high COVID-19 caseloads or new virus variants.

He urged countries not to discriminate travellers and accept their entry if they have a negative test result independent of where they were coming from.

Africa’s first coronavirus case was recorded in Egypt on Feb. 14, 2020, reaching the continent through travellers returning from hotspots in Asia, Europe and the U.S., according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Africa has reported roughly 3.4 million coronavirus cases – only 3.5 per cent of all global cases – with South Africa, Tunisia, Nigeria, Zambia and Malawi currently carrying the highest caseload.

The continent, however, has a case fatality rate of 2.5 per cent, substantially higher than the global fatality rate of 2.2 per cent, the CDC said. (dpa/NAN)


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