AstraZeneca’s Europe stop dispels doubt elsewhere

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) – The ban of the AstraZeneca vaccine in several European countries over the past week may have raised suspicions about the bullet far beyond their shores, which could threatening the spread of vaccines that are fundamental to the global strategy to eradicate coronavirus pandemic, especially in developing countries.

As things stand, it is either AstraZeneca or nothing for some poor countries. The vaccine from the Anglo-Swedish drug manufacturer is cheaper and easier to store than many others. It makes up almost all doses administered in the first half of the year by COVAX, a consortium that aims to ensure that low- and middle-income countries receive vaccines.

With little alternative, most developing countries that had the AstraZeneca at hand were pushed forward even though the major European countries stopped using it. over the past week following reports that abnormal blood clots have been found in some recipients of the bullet – despite being reported by international health agencies there was no evidence that the vaccine was to blame.

But while governments in Africa and elsewhere have expressed their intention to continue using the picture, not everyone is sure.

“Why should I let it get used to me?” Are we not human beings like those in Europe? “Peter Odongo, who lives in a town in northern Uganda, told the Daily Monitor newspaper this week.

The East African country has received 864,000 doses of AstraZeneca through COVAX so far but had administered less than 3,000 by Tuesday. Authorities have blamed supply challenges in transporting the vaccines deep into the country, but newspaper reports state they are opposed to the vaccine.

Even before the latest debate on AstraZeneca, vaccine suspicion had become a worldwide concern, as many people are skeptical about images taken at the top. African countries have engaged in special hurdles on a continent that is feared to be a testbed for the West. Some leaders have pushed back against suspicion, but others, such as those in Burundi and Tanzania, have been fueled by the revelation that they deny the severity of COVID-19.

Clearly, “unfortunate events” in Europe will not be “useful for our public confidence, in building public confidence and trust in the certainty of the use of this and other vaccines, John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters Thursday, as he encouraged African countries to continue with their vaccines.

That came hours before the EU drugs regulator delivered the same message to its 27 members. The European Medicines Agency said its experts liked the vaccine it is not linked to an overall increase in the risk of blood clots, although it certainly could not regulate contact with rare types of clots and the vaccine. In response, countries including Italy, France and Germany announced that they would start using the image again.

Even before these efforts, several developing countries had stated that they would stick to the vision.

“We will continue with the inoculations,” said Lia Tadesse, Ethiopian health minister, who received 2.2 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine last week.

Authorities in India – home of the vaccine manufacturer likely to make large doses of the dose to the developing world – said on Wednesday they would continue AstraZeneca inoculations with “full vigor” as diseases jumped in several parts of the country. After initially saying he would delay the use of the vaccine, Thailand on Tuesday said it would continue with AstraZeneca, and the Prime Minister even got his design public.

The state-run Fiocruz institute delivered the first bottled AstraZeneca shots in Brazil on Wednesday as the Ministry of Health tried to allay concerns about the blood clot reports, adding persuaded him to calm down.

Few developing countries contributed to the trend. Congo, for example, stopped using AstraZeneca, suspending its vaccination campaign even before it started since there are no doses of anything else. Indonesia initially stopped the painting but then said on Friday that it would resume use.

European and other rich countries have several vaccines, but AstraZeneca is the current strategy to vaccinate the rest of the world. Some developing countries have received doses of Chinese or Russian – made vaccines – often as donations – but, at least in Africa, these lots have generally been relatively small. The Chinese and Russian vaccines have not yet been approved by WHO and therefore cannot be dispensed with COVAX.

Africa, with a population of 1.3 billion, hopes to have 60% of its population vaccinated by the end of 2022. That target is almost achieved without widespread use of AstraZeneca. And experts have warned that until vaccine levels are high worldwide, the virus will remain a threat everywhere.

The eroding confidence in the AstraZeneca vaccine just exacerbates the difficulties faced by Africa in dispersing their inoculation campaigns. The continent is home to some of the weakest health systems in the world. Countries there have struggled just to test enough people for the coronavirus, and the true toll is unknown due to challenges in monitoring cases and deaths. According to CDC Africa, more than 4 million cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed across the continent, including more than 108,000 deaths.

In a study released Thursday, the World Bank found that 85% of low- and middle-income countries had a plan for vaccination but less than a third had public communication strategies some to combat uncertainty and misinformation about vaccines.

That means such upheaval caused by the halt in AstraZeneca across Europe can be hard to get rid of.

“It’s making the situation a big problem,” said Dr. Misaki Wayengera, head of a technical action group advising Uganda’s pandemic response, commented on the ban. “This is the best picture we have here, and we should be able to take it.”

The blow to public confidence was felt in countries such as Somalia, which started vaccinations on Tuesday, but where some said they did not like getting an AstraZeneca bullet while few in Europe used it.

“This vaccine makes no sense when the countries in the EU” have stopped using it, Abdulkadir Osman said. “We can’t trust it.”

In Rwanda, which received 240,000 doses of AstraZeneca and just over 102,000 of the Pfizer vaccine, Justin Gatsinzi said he was initially reluctant to take the bullet but feared that some public services would be denied to him. he would refuse.

“It’s very sad indeed,” said Gatsinzi, a teacher, adding that he had not been told what vaccine he had received.


Associated Press Journalists David Biller in Rio de Janeiro, Ignatius Ssuuna in Kigali, Rwanda, Ashok Sharma in New Delhi, Mohamed Sheikh Nor in Mogadishu, Somalia, Lori Hinnant in Paris and Maria Cheng in London attached this report.