ICRC Urges Fair Share of COVID vaccines for Africa

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is calling on the world community to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are equally distributed to Africa.

Ahead of a visit to the Central African Republic, one year after the first ascertained case of COVID-19 was recorded there, ICRC President Peter Maurer said in a statement Friday that “it is a moral imperative that Africa’s access to needed vaccines is drastically improved, but also that COVID vaccination campaigns do not come at the cost of other key health concerns.”

“No one is safe until everyone is safe,” he said as new variants of COVID-19 began to spread, adding that “equitable access to its vaccine today is a critical step towards more equitable access to vaccines more generally.”

According to VOA, this week, the World Health Organization said the UN-led COVAX initiative aims to start shipping approximately 90 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines this month to Africa. The immunization rollout is said to be the continent’s biggest mass vaccination program ever.

As more vaccines become available, the ICRC said it is paramount that authorities give high priority to displaced persons, migrants and refugees, people in custody, and communities in areas under NGO jurisdiction, the statement said.

“Vaccinating vulnerable groups across the globe makes economic sense,” Maurer said.

The ICRC is ready to assist with vaccine roll-outs, in close collaboration with the Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies and other partners, Maurer said.

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