‘Not Equitable and Not Fair.’ How the WHO Plans to Solve Africa’s Desperate Shortage of COVID-19 Vaccines

The new consortium will include drug makers, a network of universities and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

‘Not Equitable and Not Fair.’ How the WHO Plans to Solve Africa’s Desperate Shortage of COVID-19 Vaccines

(JOHANNESBURG) — The World Health Organization is in talks to create the first-ever technology transfer hub for coronavirus vaccines in South Africa, a move to boost supply to the continent that’s desperately in need of COVID-19 shots, the head of the U.N. agency announced.

The new consortium will include drug makers Biovac and Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines, a network of universities and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. They will develop training facilities for other vaccine makers to make shots that use a genetic code of the spike protein, known as mRNA vaccines.

“We are now in discussions with several companies that have indicated interest in providing their mRNA technology,” said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus at a virtual press briefing on Monday. That technology is used in the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.
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Africa will soon be able to “take responsibility for the health of our people,” as a result of the new WHO-backed technology transfer hub, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said in the press briefing.

It is “just not equitable and not fair” that some people are denied access to COVID-19 vaccines because of where they live, Ramaphosa said.

Poor countries in Africa and elsewhere are facing dire shortages of COVID-19 jabs despite some countries having the ability to produce vaccines, lamented Lara Dovifat, a campaign and advocacy adviser for Doctors Without Borders.

“The faster companies share the know-how, the faster we can put an end to this pandemic,” she said in a statement.

Numerous factories in Canada, Bangladesh, Denmark and elsewhere have previously called for companies to immediately share their technology, saying their idle production lines could be churning out millions of doses if they weren’t hampered by intellectual property and other restrictions.

More than 1 billion coronavirus vaccines have been administered globally, but fewer than 1% have been in poor countries.

South Africa accounts for nearly 40% of Africa’s total recorded COVID-19 infections and is currently suffering a rapid surge, but vaccine rollout has been slow, marked by delayed deliveries among other factors.

South Africa currently does not manufacture any COVID-19 vaccines from scratch, but its Aspen Pharmacare assembles the Johnson & Johnson shot by blending large batches of the ingredients sent by J&J and then putting the product in vials and packaging them, a process known as fill and finish. Earlier this month the company had to discard 2 million doses because they had ingredients produced in the U.S. in a factory under suspect conditions.

South Africa’s current wave of infections threatens to overwhelm the country’s hospitals.

“The climb in new cases has been extraordinarily rapid and steep over the past few weeks,” Ramaphosa said Monday in his weekly letter to the nation. “The number of daily new cases jumped from below 800 in early April to more than 13,000 in the past week. In other words, it increased more than 15-fold from the last low point.”

Gauteng province, the country’s most populous with the cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria, is the worst-affected by the current surge with 60% of the new cases. All public and private hospitals are full, yet the numbers of new confirmed cases continue to rise, the province’s deputy premier, David Makhura, said Monday.

“I don’t want to send a message saying everything is okay,” said Makhura. “I want to say to the people of the province: The house is on fire.”

WHO officials said that while their new vaccine transfer technology will hopefully increase future supplies, it won’t address the immediate crisis, since it will take months for any new factories to start producing shots.

With dozens of countries desperately waiting for more doses after the COVAX initiative, a U.N.-backed plan to distribute vaccines to poor countries faltered in recent months, the WHO has been trying to persuade rich countries to donate vaccines once their most vulnerable populations are immunized.

But Dr. Michael Ryan, the WHO’s emergencies chief, acknowledged that countries have mostly declined to share vaccines immediately.

“When you ask countries (to donate), they say, ‘Well, we’re going to vaccinate according to our priorities and our priorities are our own citizens,’” Ryan said.

He added that while transferring vaccine technology will help in the medium to long term, it won’t help stem the current spike in infections.

“We have not used the vaccines available globally to provide protection to the most vulnerable,” he said. ”And the fact that we haven’t … is a catastrophic moral failure.”

Source : Time More   

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5 Trusted Sites For Health Opinions

Here are several sites to bookmark as you get started on your journey toward optimal health and wellness. More

5 Trusted Sites For Health Opinions

Written By Finnegan Pierson / Reviewed By Ray Spotts

Are you looking for online sources that will give you trusted opinions on health matters? Do you value a combination of viewpoints from both professionals and the general public? If you're wanting to feel the best you can, it's wise to check out a variety of resources that provide comprehensive, easy-to-understand information. Then you can make the best choices for yourself and your loved ones.

Here are several sites to bookmark as you get started on your journey toward optimal health and wellness. 

1. Yahoo

A "homepage" site since 1994, Yahoo provides news, sports, lifestyle, celebrity coverage, and much more. Many people use it as a starting point to get their daily dose of information. While it's gone through many transformations, it's still one of the most-visited online destinations.

You might not know this yet, but Yahoo also has a variety of articles on health topics. You'll find a diversity of viewpoints and compelling perspectives. Wondering how to find opinions and support? Search using terms such as Le-vel Thrive reviews to gain useful information. 

2. Healthline

Healthline stands out as an informative, well-researched, and visually pleasing source of online information and opinions. While numerous freelancers contribute to the site, each article is reviewed and fact-checked by a medical professional.

Lately, Healthline is becoming more interactive, with town halls and changes in content based on reader feedback. There's a helpful symptom checker you can use to decide between seeking help. The site also contains thoughtful articles about the intersection of social justice and health. 

3. Verywell Health

Remember About.com? Over the years, it's turned into Dotdash, a family of websites that cover every conceivable topic. Verywell Health is one of its most popular channels, and it's become a trusted authority on health and medical issues. The writers at Verywell Health are especially skilled at breaking down complicated ideas into concepts that the lay public can understand.

A standout section in Verywell Health is their "Healthy Conversations" resource, which provides coaching on discussing touchy topics with family and friends. There's also a great collection of "Doctor Discussion Guides" that can help you better communicate with your health practitioner. 

4. Livestrong

Are you a fitness fanatic or simply want to get in good shape and boost your vitality? Livestrong's tagline is "Simple Healthy Living" and its content deals with exactly that. The website is easy to navigate and has a strong, modern visual appeal. Though at first glance it seems geared toward the younger set, people of all ages can benefit from checking out its information.

The workout and diet sections are continuously updated with current best practices and research. Some of the tidbits of information on Livestrong are surprising; articles like "If You're Flossing After You Brush, You're Doing It Wrong" and "20 Quotes That Will Make You Love Your Body" provide a fresh take on familiar topics. 

5. MedlinePlus

If you need to get serious medical information that supports the resources your doctor is giving you, MedlinePlus is a great place to go. It has a huge collection of resources on many conditions. Finding useful advice when you're under stress is a big challenge.

When faced with a health challenge many people search "Dr. Google" and focus on websites that confirm what they already think. While MedlinePlus is remarkably balanced regarding conventional vs. alternative approaches, it does prioritize treatments that are backed by research.

Interested in genetic medicine? Many are; it's a rapidly growing discipline. MedlinePlus offers a comprehensive section on the topic that will help you gain valuable knowledge to keep you and your family well informed. Looking for some healthy alternatives to processed foods? Believe it or not, MedlinePlus can give you recipes that are simple, tasty, and easy to prepare. 

Finding health resources and opinions you can trust requires time and a focused approach. Consider visiting these sites to find useful support for your active, healthy lifestyle. 

 Subscribe to our  newsletter for more information about . If you are looking for more health resources check out the  

Written By:

Finnegan Pierson loves business and has a passion for Health and technology. Even more interesting is the combination of the two. As a freelance writer, Finn hopes to influence others so they can have positive life experiences.

Reviewed By:

Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed , a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at .

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