Corona vaccines … will Europe deny its promises to Arab countries? | Politics and Economy | In-depth analyzes with a broader perspective from DW | DW


While developed countries are moving towards securing Corona vaccines and vaccinating their citizens, Arab countries are still struggling to obtain adequate vaccine supplies at a time when some of them are witnessing an increase in the spread of the epidemic. In Morocco, the focus has been on choosing the traditional vaccines developed by AstraZeneca and Sinopharma, which do not require storage in extremely cold conditions, but they also require two doses.

After the Kingdom received two million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the India Serum Institute this week, the Moroccan Ministry of Health began distributing Corona vaccines across the country and announced the launch of a large-scale mass vaccination campaign.

As for Algeria, it is still waiting for the arrival of the first batches of the Russian vaccine at the end of this month and the start of the vaccination campaign. Also, the vaccination campaign in Algeria is not only a logistical challenge, because of the climate that creates difficulties because the Biontec, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require storage at very low temperatures. Unlike the AstraZenka vaccine, the Russian and Chinese vaccines, which are much less demanding and cheaper.

Less expensive and easier to save

Algeria, which has recorded more than 100 thousand cases of the virus since the beginning of the pandemic, including 2,800 deaths, according to the latest statistics related to the Coronavirus, sources said earlier that it will share with the neighboring Tunisian government, the first batch of the Russian vaccine “Septonik-V” upon its arrival.

As for Tunisia, which has a population of 11.7 million people, it knows an accurate epidemiological situation with the registration of large numbers of infected people compared to the population. The rate of daily injuries for weeks has exceeded two thousand, and reached its highest level in the Ministry of Health update on January 15, which reached 4,170 injuries.

For its part, the government said that the first dose of the American Pfizer vaccines will not arrive before April, but it is seeking to acquire another vaccine before February in light of the worsening epidemiological situation in the country. However, health experts have ruled out the possibility of providing vaccines at this date that was announced About the government. Tunisian Health Minister Faouzi El Mahdi also confirmed that the Biontech and Pfizer vaccine will not arrive in Tunisia until February.

Citizens ask: “Where is the vaccine, my government?”

Hashemi al-Wazir, Director General of the (government) Pasteur Institute, said that Tunisia will receive 2 million doses of Corona vaccination from Biontec and Pfizer, starting from the second third of 2021. Conflict in government statements regarding when the vaccine will be available, creating a state of popular discontent in Tunisia, especially In light of the escalation of the spread of the epidemic in the country.

In this regard, Lotfi Zaitoun, the resigned leader of the Islamic Ennahda Movement, wrote in a post on his personal account on the social networking site “Facebook” that delaying the date of providing the vaccine could cost the country many lives.

As for the journalist and political analyst, Munther Bediafi, it is due to a delay Availability of the vaccine in TunisiaTo the failure of the “system of government” in the country, according to his words.

One of the activists mocked the government’s handling of the Coronavirus crisis and the delay in vaccination, referring to the previous announcement of imposing a comprehensive quarantine, while other countries began the vaccination process.

For its part, Egypt embarked on Sunday a vaccination campaign with the vaccination of workers in the health sector and groups suffering from chronic diseases, then the elderly. The country, which is the second African country to launch a large-scale vaccination campaign after Seychelles, has chosen the vaccine produced by the Chinese company, Sinopharma. Egypt received the first batch of the Chinese company Sinopharm vaccine in December.

On the other hand, officials in the health sector warned that the low rate of examinations means that the real number of injuries may be at least ten times higher. Many questions occurred in the minds of Egyptians during the past weeks, among them the reason for their country’s failure to compete in the vaccine race compared to other countries, as well as the effectiveness of the Chinese vaccine that Egypt imported.

Al-Khatib, a researcher at Princeton University and the Free University of Berlin, tweeted in this regard: “Where is the vaccine, government?” He wondered about the reason for the delay in the start of the vaccination process in Egypt, despite the German government’s classification, Egypt is among twenty countries that represent a global epidemic for the spread of the Coronavirus.

The Egyptian journalist and political analyst, Amr Khalifa, wrote in a tweet on his Twitter account about expectations regarding the distribution of Corona vaccines based on class or social grounds in Egypt, saying:

Jordan has received shipments of the Chinese “Sinopharma” and “Pfizer” vaccines in recent days. Last week, he announced the start of a Coronavirus vaccination program, which aims to vaccinate one in four of its population of ten million. The vaccination will also include refugees in the country, according to the international “CARE” organization.

Jordan currently hosts about 663,000 Syrian refugees registered with the United Nations, while Amman estimates the number of people who have sought refuge in the Kingdom since the outbreak of the conflict in Syria at about 1.3 million.

Europe contradicts its promises?

In reality, rich countries are well ahead in the race to vaccinate. Experts have previously warned against “neglecting poor countries.” In this regard, Frederick Christensen, the second man in the Global Coalition on Innovations for Epidemic Preparedness, says: “I am very concerned,” and explains: “If images spread around the world now that show people in rich countries receiving vaccinations while nothing happens in developing countries, then this is a problem. Very large”.

In a previous comment on the vaccination process in the Maghreb countries, the German newspaper “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” wrote that these countries provide an example of how difficult it is to obtain vaccine supplies in the race with the West. Therefore, Algeria and Morocco depend on supplies from Russia and China, despite the long wait.

Read also: Young men to DW: License to export vaccines from Europe must be imposed

In the virtual Davos forum, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a “fair” sharing of vaccines in the world in light of increasing competition between countries due to limited supply. However, these promises are not yet enough to reassure poor countries, as South President Ivy Cyril Ramapusa said in his speech to the Davos Forum, “The rich countries of the world possess these vaccines.”

He added that poor countries are marginalized by those that have the means to buy vaccines in numbers “four times the needs of their population.” These accusations coincide with the World Health Organization’s warning of what it described as “nationalism” in vaccine policies.

In a study conducted at the request of the International Chamber of Commerce, epidemiologists calculated that even if developed economies vaccinate all of their populations, the cost that they will incur because of the interconnectedness of the countries of the world with each other, may range between 200 and 4,500 billion if the less developed countries do not receive vaccines. Will the Europeans review their accounts and share the vaccine doses with the needy Arab countries?


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