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SADC longs for Africa’s own Covid-19 vaccines

THE Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states have been called to heighten efforts in enhancing research and pharmaceutical capacities to enable the continent develop its own Covid-19 vaccines.

SADC Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Tax said on Friday at the official  opening of the  Extra  Ordinary  Meeting  of  Ministers  of Health  and  those responsible for  HIV and AIDS  that,  although   a number of  vaccines have  received approval from the  World Health  Organisation  (WHO), the  region was yet to develop  its own  vaccine.

"In  the  last  few  months  a  number  of  vaccines have  received  regulatory approvals, and prequalification by the WHO. It is nonetheless, unfortunate that, we are yet to have a vaccine or cure that has been developed within the continent.

“All the vaccines that have received regulatory approvals, and prequalification  by the WHO  are from non-SADC   and   non-African countries," Dr Tax said.

She added:  "Under   such   circumstances, SADC and other African countries have to depend on the mercy of these countries."

Dr  Tax  said that Covid-19 has been one of the tests of lives, and a wake-up call for Africa, adding  "as  a  region  we  must establish strong  regional  collaborative  strategies, which   pulls  resources   together   for   the enhancement of research capabilities, capacitation  of  our pharmaceutical sub-sector,  and regional manufacturing capacity also in other sectors for our socio-economic development.”

She further noted that, while the  SADC  member  states remain hopeful that vaccines for the  continent will be delivered in the course of 2021first semester, the countries must not forget that all the public health and  social measures are using foreign initiated ways of containing the pandemic.

"Our capacity to effectively  control this pandemic  will  come  from  a combination  of  public health  measures  that  help  to  slowdown  the  spread  of  the  virus  in  the population, and prevent its spread," she said.

She explained that the current Covid-19 situation in the region calls for bold and swift actions, adding that the member states have not fully recovered from the adverse impacts of the first wave of the outbreak.

She noted the meeting provided the member states with an opportunity to assess their independent Covid-19 situation and discuss measures to enhance collaborative management of the pandemic in the region.

Mid this week President John Magufuli warned the Ministry of Health against rushing to acquire foreign vaccines for the Covid-19 pandemic without verifying their efficacy.

He noted that his government will not impose lockdown in the country, but will allow the people to continue with their daily businesses, while adhering to health personal precautions.

“Not every vaccine is beneficial to our nation, the ministry (health) should be extra careful on this issue to avoid leading the country into trouble. Tanzanians should stand firm and stop being guinea pigs for such vaccines because they may face irreparable consequences,” he said.

Kenya has confirmed 15 more cases of ...

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Author: SUNDAY NEWS Reporter

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