Depending on foreign vaccines dangerous for Africans: Prof. Tomori
Oyewale Tomori, a former regional virologist at the World Health Organisation (WHO), says that Africa’s over-dependence on non-African countries for vaccines is dangerous to the health of Africans.
Mr Tomori said this while speaking on vaccine inequity at a symposium to discuss immunisation and investment in vaccine production in Africa on Wednesday in Abuja.
“Africans’ over-dependency on foreign countries is dangerous to the health of everyone, especially children,” the virologist said.
Speaking on the theme, “Equitable Vaccines Access: Resilient Communities”, Mr Tomori said that Africans were last to receive the COVID-19 vaccine because the suppliers needed to first fulfil the needs of their people.
Africa, a continent of over 1.2 billion people and 54 countries, produces only one per cent of the vaccines it administers. This is as the continent accounts for a large percentage of deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Mr Tomori, who made a presentation on equitable vaccine access, resilient communities, decolonising vaccine production and strengthening the vaccine learning ecosystem, said the Nigerian government must be held accountable in every way possible.
“Many countries, governments hold the people to ransom for not doing what they are supposed to do, and the only persons who can deliver the people and start holding the government accountable for what they were meant to do are the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs),” he stressed.
He said that the country must follow the principles that govern Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to achieve the goals come 2030, and there are lots of obstacles preventing the country from moving towards the achievements of SDGs.
“Good health is a fundamental right of every Nigerian. But, the country is still far behind in achieving the set SDGs.
“There are 17 SDGs, and we as citizens ensure this is achieved,” he said.
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