The Red Cross launched a plan Thursday to help vaccinate 500 million people against Covid-19 in over 100 countries, warning that leaving out the world’s poorest could seriously backfire.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said it would throw its weight into the distribution and acceptance of vaccines among some of the hardest-to-reach communities.
The Geneva-based IFRC said it would spend 100 million Swiss francs ($111 million, 92.5 million euros) on the push and was already working with governments in more than 60 countries to see where its help could be the most effective.
“The current lack of equity in the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines is alarming and could backfire to deadly and devastating effect,” IFRC secretary general Jagan Chapagain told reporters.
He said nearly 70 percent of vaccine doses administered so far had been in the world’s 50 richest countries while only 0.1 percent had been deployed in the poorest 50.
“It could prolong or even worsen this terrible pandemic,” Chapagain said, noting that if the virus continued to circulate and mutate in large areas of the globe, even those who have been vaccinated in wealthier countries would not be safe.
He called for richer countries to share vaccines once they had immunised their most vulnerable populations.
Otherwise, “the emergence of variants in far-away low-income countries will shatter the illusion of safety in wealthier countries,” said Chapagain.
The IFRC, which calls itself the world’s largest humanitarian network, said it will bolster national vaccination efforts, including supporting logistics and countering misinformation about vaccine efficacy.
IFRC health director Emanuele Capobianco it was already supporting vaccination campaigns in Austria, Brazil, Morocco and Kuwait, among other countries.
It is also aiming to reach refugees and undocumented migrants.
On Wednesday, the Covax programme to ensure equitable worldwide access to Covid-19 vaccines published its first distribution list.
Some 145 countries are set to receive an initial 337.2 million doses — enough to immunise 3.3 percent of their collective population by mid-2021, with first deliveries expected in late February.
For many poorer countries, the scheme will be their only way of accessing vaccines.
“The equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines between and within countries is more than a moral imperative: it is the only way to solve the most pressing public health emergency of our time,” said Chapagain.
With the second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria, WHO is helping the government leverage the existing Acute Flaccid Paralysis Automatic Detection and Reporting System (AVADAR) to strengthen community-based disease surveillance. In 731 departments across eleven (11) states at high risk of COVID-19, WHO is supporting the engagement of more than 670 AVADAR informants to conduct internal surveillance for COVID-19 and report suspected cases of COVID-19, raise awareness and support contact tracing in communities. So far, informants have delivered COVID 19 prevention messages to more than 85,000 households in Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa, Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Bauchi, Taraba, Borno and Yobe states. “Community members trust us because we are an integral part of the communities in which we work,” says Mustapha, an AVADAR informant based in Kano state. “We speak the same language and have been known to our communities since the days of AFP polio surveillance. Thus, involving […]
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UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, today appealed for $ 164 million to provide life-saving assistance and protection to nearly 1.5 million uprooted Central Africans, including 210,000 who have fled a new wave of violence linked to the presidential elections of December 2020. With no end in sight to the violence fueling the displacement crisis, almost a third of the 4.7 million inhabitants of the Central African Republic (CAR) have been forced to leave. to run away. Since the new crisis erupted, some 100,000 people have been internally displaced in the CAR, while neighboring Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo have welcomed 111,000 new arrivals. Refugees continue to cross every day. Many new arrivals report serious human rights violations in the CAR. Our colleagues in Gore, Chad, care for a 26-year-old refugee mother who was beaten and raped by a rebel with her six-month-old […]