Namibian President Hage Geingob on Wednesday claimed the existence of “vaccine apartheid” as some countries still struggle to obtain the vital immunity shots.
Geingob made the remark in his speech at the World Health Day 2021 hosted virtually by the World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom.
The Namibian president noted that despite his country having placed orders for vaccines weeks ago, the shots were yet to arrive in the Southern African country.
“I wish to express my disappointment in the manner in which COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed, and this points to a form of vaccine Apartheid,” said Geingob.
“Namibia is one of the countries to have paid early for the vaccines. To date, Namibia has not yet received anything and has relied on COVID-19 vaccines from friends, such as India and China. I always say that inclusivity spells harmony and exclusivity spells harmony.”
Namibia received its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines from Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac on March 16, and proceeded to roll out mass vaccination on March 19.
By Tuesday, the country had administered a total of just 2,094 doses of vaccines.
The narrative remains similar in many other African countries. South Sudan only got to commence its mass vaccination drive on Tuesday, months after the first WHO approved vaccines was administered.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom on Tuesday called on countries to share vaccine doses so as to synchronize inoculations globally and ensure unified progress against the virus.
— Hage G. Geingob (@hagegeingob) April 7, 2021
In his speech on Wednesday, Geingob acknowledged that some progress has made so far in the fight against the pandemic, attributed to global unity.
He urged for similar unity of purpose in tackling other challenges that affect the world.
Looking beyond the pandemic, the Namibian leader urged “the community of nations should start considering the strategies and indeed the ways and means of building a fairer, healthier world, post-COVID-19.”
“Building a fairer and healthier world will demand joint and concerted action. It will require that we, as members of the human family, stand resolutely together, to do everything that is required to return our societies to normalcy. Our people, young and old, have been traumatized. Lives and livelihoods have been disrupted,” he added.
So far, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases globally has surpassed the 132.5 million mark with deaths exceeding 2.8 million, according to figures from the Johns Hopkins University.