Anti-Covid vaccines: India lets go of Africa

The vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India (SII) has stopped talks about delivering vaccines against the coronavirus (Covid-19) to Africa. A decision by the director of the African Centers for Disease Control (ACDC), John Nkengasong, as a waiver as only six African countries met the global goal of vaccinating 40% of their population against Covid-19 by the end of the year.

In a statement made on Thursday, December 9th, Dr. Nkengasong also shared recent comments from Serum’s executive director Adar Poonawalla that the uptake of its Covid-19 vaccines had slowed due to low demand, and that the real problem was that Serum had been acting unprofessionally.

According to Nkengasong, the Serum Institute of India started talks with the African Vaccine Procurement Task Force (AVATT) last year.

“At one point I thought an agreement was very close, but Serum cut the conversation abruptly. The SII has just decided to act very unprofessionally and to stop communicating with the AVATT team. That led to a situation where we felt extremely unhappy and then got engaged to Johnson & Johnson, ”he said.

According to the Africa CDC, African countries have agreed to buy 400 million doses of COVID vaccines from J&J and have broken off negotiations with the institute.

According to GAVI, a major funder of COVAX’s global vaccine exchange network, the continent continues to see high demand for serum AstraZeneca vaccine, despite serum claims that absorption has slowed.

Note that Africa remains the world’s least vaccinated continent against Covid-19, with less than 8% of the continent’s population being completely disabled.