Deputy Minister Marina Sereni at the meeting organized by Intersos after a year of immunization campaign around the world. The NGO: the disparity in access to doses remains enormous
The balance after a year of anti Covid vaccination campaign? There is obviously the great lesson, which has become a slogan, you cannot save yourself, you cannot go on leaving someone behind. Or to put it in an ancient African proverb, spread by sages who didn’t need the pandemic to get there: If you want to go fast, run alone. If you want to go far, go with the others. A lesson still little assimilated, however. Over the past year, what we’ve seen has often been the exact opposite. In the course of our work, we have noted and denounced the persistence of unacceptable conditions of exclusion. After a year, the disparity in access to vaccines remains huge: an unacceptable and risky fact, he noted Kostas Moschochoritis, general manager of Intersosduring the meeting organized by the same NGO this morning in Rome, entitled Unequal Pandemic, with the interventions of Tania Cernuschi, covid manager of the World Health Organization e Marina SereniDeputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
After all, the numbers speak for themselves: at the beginning of January 2022 only 10% of the population in the poorest countries in the world was immunized with at least one dose compared to the 67% in the richest countries (UN estimate). And in most states of the sub-Saharan area the percentage of the population that has completed the vaccination cycle is still too low: less than half of these countries have reached 10% coverage and there are a few, such as Chad and the Democratic Republic of the Congo which do not even reach 1%.
Yet the pandemic has taught us that the lives of the people living on the fringes, both in our cities and in the rich West, concern us. Because the virus we are chasing away from us with the third dose could come back in the future in new guise, Moschochoritis reiterates.
Currently, 10 billion doses of the vaccine have been distributed around the world, so close to the 11-12 billion doses needed to immunize 70% of the world’s population: if they had been distributed equally we would therefore be close to the goal of vaccinating 70% of the world’s population by the end of 2022 esteem Tania Cernuschi.
Abroad Intersos participates in the vaccination campaign in the Covax setting, the global initiative created to promote the equitable distribution of vaccines around the world. We are operational in Nigeria and Yemen with an intervention package based on four pillars: the activation of communities and information to the populationthe management and support of the cold chainthe direct administration of vaccines
The final injection is just the last link in a long chainthere is a lot of work behind every sting – he points out – In Burkina Faso the preparation phase for raising awareness of the population is underway. And in the coming weeks we will be launching a study to understand what the obstacles to vaccination in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Chad and the Central African Republic.
The challenges on the ground have changed over the past 12 months. In the first phase, the main difficulty of low-income countries was to get the doses. Today this problem is partially overcome, and the major problem turning vaccines into vaccinations evaluates Sereni. The goal of vaccinating 70% of the world population is still a long way off if in Africa 85% of the inhabitants did not even receive the first dose he pointed out.
The Deputy Minister reflects on the obstacles that remain to be faced: We must enable countries to prepare themselves, with vaccination support materials, strengthening the cold chain, storage systems, fighting disinformation, promoting awareness against vaccination hesitation . Strengthen local health systems so as to increase the resilience capacity also for the future.
Italy – Sereni recalled – in 2021 allocated 385 million euros to Covax and 45 million doses of vaccine, 36 million of which have already been delivered to fragile countries, It is necessary to continue on this path by refinancing the Covax program.
As for the increase in production through the temporary suspension of vaccines, I believe the EU should have a more open attitudeor. In the meantime, we can support those African countries which, like Morocco and South Africa, have launched into the production of their own vaccines, transferring technologies and training staff. There are Italian companies interested in doing so, on 17-18 February at the African Union and EU summit we will propose a package to support the vaccination campaign.
Finally, from Sereni, an acknowledgment to the organizations on the front line: Without the eye of those who go, see and vaccinate, like Intersos, it would have been more difficult to see the bottlenecks, to realize the bottlenecks in 2021 to try to overcome them in the 2022.