Sunday, December 5, 2021

Blinken to highlight local vaccine production in Senegal

COVID-19 vaccines did not become widely available in Senegal until the end of March 2021, months later than in many other countries. Since then, Senegal has relied on external donations to maintain its stock, which has been exhausted on several occasions.

On Saturday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to end his five-day visit to the continent in Senegal, highlighting America’s efforts to help the country create its own vaccines.

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Blinken is scheduled to visit Dakar’s Pasteur Institute, which recently received tens of millions of dollars from foreign partners to help with vaccine production. The fund includes a contribution of US$3.3 million.

FILE: A view of the Pasteur Institute building in Dakar, Senegal on March 2, 2020.

Currently, Africa imports 99% of all its vaccines.

“And critically, we want to support these companies so that they can make not only COVID vaccines, but other vaccines, vaccines for Africa in Africa, to help not only end the pandemic, but also to address future health challenges.” Also help in building capacity to cope. David Marchick, chief operating officer of the US International Development Finance Corporation.

In addition to financial support, the US plans to provide technical expertise, expressed Marchic. It is expected that Senegal will eventually produce vaccines for export to other countries, he said.

Since the start of the pandemic, the US has donated nearly 1 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to Senegal and nearly 10 million to help the country fight coronavirus misinformation and aid in vaccine distribution, among other efforts. dollars allocated.

As of Wednesday, about 8% of Senegal’s population had been vaccinated against COVID-19, or more than 1,300,00 people, according to the Ministry of Health. According to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, about 60% of the population in the US has been vaccinated, or more than 195 million people have been vaccinated.

Dr. Ossenou Badiane, coordinator of the Expanded Immunization Program with Senegal’s Ministry of Health, says that if Senegal is able to decentralize vaccine production and produce the vaccine locally, it will improve not only the availability of vaccines but also procurement. convenience and will eliminate transportation costs.

Secretary Blinken’s visit comes on the heels of a UN climate summit, known as COP26, where the US pledged to move away from fossil fuels.

While in Senegal, a State Department statement said Blinken was to attend business-related events, but did not mention that he would be involved in climate-related discussions. The statement said the environment was on the agenda during his visit to Nairobi.

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This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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