Abidjan residents receive doses of AstraZeneca vaccine
People of Abidjan were relieved to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine on Friday after international health regulators said the vaccine does not raise the overall incidence of blood clots, though they couldn’t rule out a connection to a small number of rare clots.
Several European countries temporarily stopped use of the AstraZeneca vaccine due to concerns regarding blood clots, but resumed use after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) gave its approval on Thursday.
Although the Ivory Coast’s vaccination program, which started in early March, was not halted, some of those who were scheduled to receive the vaccine were concerned about its protection.
Abidjan resident Mohamed Kouyate said people ”were concerned” when countries like France decided to suspend the use of the AstraZeneca jab, but after the EMA gave the green light to it, he decided to receive it.
The COVAX program enabled the West African country to be one of the first on the continent to receive AstraZeneca vaccines.
President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina urged countries to stop “vaccine nationalism” and claimed that his organization would assist the African continent in “getting organized and manufacturing medicinal drugs as well as vaccines.”
Since the AstraZeneca vaccine is cheaper and easier to store than others, it is either the AstraZeneca vaccine or nothing for some developing countries.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has halted the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, halting its vaccination program even before it started, due to a lack of doses from other pharmaceutical companies.
The suspension has heightened vaccine skepticism; Abidjan market worker Simplice Toure has said he will not receive the vaccine after health officials deemed it “problematic.”
Africa, which has a population of 1.3 billion people, hopes to vaccinate 60% of its inhabitants by the year 2022.
The waning confidence in the AstraZeneca vaccine will only exacerbate the challenges Africa will face in implementing its vaccination campaigns.