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COVID-19: Multilateral Agencies Fear Inability to Reach 40% Vaccine Target

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Vaccine Target

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Multilateral Leaders Task Force, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB) Group, World Health Organization (WHO) and World Trade Organization (WTO), have expressed concern that without urgent steps, the world may not achieve the end-2021 target of vaccinating at least 40 per cent of the population in all countries which is a critical milestone to end the pandemic and for global economic recovery.

The Task Force made its position known at a meeting with the CEOs of leading vaccine manufacturing companies to discuss strategies to improve the access to COVID-19 vaccines, especially in low- and lower-middle-income countries and in Africa.

At the onset of the novel pandemic, the task force joined forces to accelerate access to COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics by leveraging multilateral finance and trade solutions, particularly for low- and middle-income countries, with the aim to achieve a 40 per cent vaccine target in every country by the end of 2021, and at least, 60 per cent by mid-2022.

In a statement, the Task Force members noted that despite adequate total global vaccine production in the aggregate, the doses are not reaching low- and lower-middle-income countries in sufficient amounts, resulting in a crisis of vaccine inequity.

The Task Force, therefore, encouraged countries that have contracted high amounts of vaccine doses, and vaccine manufacturers, to come together in good faith to urgently accelerate COVID-19 vaccine supplies to COVAX and AVAT, two multilateral mechanisms that are crucial for equitable distribution of vaccines.

The group’s members welcomed the willingness of the CEOs to work collectively with them to end vaccine inequity and their readiness to form a technical working group with the Task Force to exchange and coordinate information on vaccine production and deliveries.

They, however, stressed that if the 40 per cent coverage threshold is to be reached in all countries by the end of 2021, countries with high vaccination rates that have collectively pre-purchased over two billion doses in excess of what is required to fully vaccinate their populations, should, as a matter of urgency, “swap their near-term delivery schedules with COVAX and AVAT; fulfil their dose donation pledges with unearmarked upfront deliveries to COVAX.”

They also asked that these countries release vaccine companies from options and contracts so those doses can be delivered to people in low- and lower-middle-income countries and adding that vaccine manufacturers should prioritize and fulfil their contracts to COVAX and AVAT.

The Task Force advocated for the need to ensure that doses reach countries that need them the most, particularly low- and lower-middle-income countries.

It, therefore, called on vaccine manufacturers to share details on month-by-month delivery schedules for all vaccine shipments, especially for COVAX and AVAT.

In its remarks, WHO emphasized its call for a moratorium on booster doses until the end of 2021, with the exception of the immune-compromised, to help optimize supply to low-income countries.

The Task Force also called on all countries to urgently address export restrictions, high tariffs and customs bottlenecks on COVID-19 vaccines and the raw materials and supplies required for the production and timely distribution of vaccines.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Health

COVID-19: Nigeria to Start Vaccination of Children

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vaccination of children

By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel

In a few months’ time, Nigeria will commence administering vaccines to children under 12 years to protect them against the coronavirus (COVID-19).

This vaccination of children against the virus would be done in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The UNICEF Health Specialist and Officer in charge of Enugu Field Office, Mr Olusoji Akinleye, said during a recent media executive meeting in the state that it had taken so long for this to be implemented because of the cluttered processes involved before any drug would be administered to children.

Speaking at the event, which was in collaboration with Broadcasting Corporation of Abia State (BCA), Umuahia, on Child Rights-influenced Reporting on COVID-19, the specialist said that a lot of children had died due to the COVID-19, adding that, “In the next few months, Nigeria will start administering the vaccine on children under 12 years of age.”

He said, “We recognize the partnership in promoting and highlighting the right of every child to life. The very first right that every human being is supposed to have is the right to life; we recognise that the media have always supported the effort of government and partners, including UNICEF, in promoting the right to health.”

Noting the challenges faced by the health sector regarding public hesitancy, unwillingness, and misconceptions against the COVID-19 vaccines, Mr Akinleye encouraged parents to ensure that their children were protected by obeying the safety protocols that have been put in place.

In addition to this, he said, “UNICEF looks forward to more robust collaboration with the media and an expected upward trend in the promotion of health and hygiene practices by the media in Nigeria by daily communication to the public of protocols enforced by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

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Health

Lagos to Host Conference on Biosecurity, One Health

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Biosecurity

By Sodeinde Temidayo David

The Lagos State Government has announced the plan to hold the seventh Annual African Conference on One Health and Biosecurity as part of efforts to ensure that the Africa continent braces up for the challenges posed by emerging infectious diseases and biosecurity threats.

The conference is in partnership with Global Emerging Pathogens Treatment Consortium (GET) and is scheduled to hold both virtually and physically at the Civic Centre at Lagos from Wednesday, October 27 to Friday, October 29, 2021, with the theme Universal Approach to Addressing Biosecurity Threats – Genomic Intelligence and Vaccines.

Interested participants have been advised to visit the GET website to register and attend the hybrid conference.

According to the state Commissioner for Health, Mr Akin Abayomi, the conference is seventh in the series of conferences organised by GET, in partnership with governments around West Africa and the African continent, to help develop a biosecurity road map and to increase resilience in dealing with pathogens of high consequence.

Mr Abayomi expressed the need to continually focus on the key importance of the African response in combating emerging infectious diseases.

He stated that the need for various treatment strategies and preparedness against future biosecurity threats necessitated the need for the conference.

“Lagos has teamed up once again this year with GET to organise the seventh African Conference on One Health and Biosecurity. We have a very important thematic initiative this year to address the universal approach to biosecurity threats using genomic intelligence and vaccine,” the commissioner noted.

He further explained that genomic intelligence is the ability to sequence a pathogen that is causing an outbreak, adding that COVID-19 is the focus of attention for the conference.

As stated by him, genomic intelligence should be vigorous, with significant measures taken to mitigate the potency of current and future epidemics as well as keeping up with effective vaccine production.

Mr Abayomi further explained that the conference’s thematic areas cover Vaccine Strategy, Genome Research, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Biosecurity and Bio-threat, Biobanking Infrastructure, Climate change and Cultural Anthropological Social and Economic Impact of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

He also advocated various treatment strategies and preparedness against future biosecurity threats as he stated the key importance of the African response in combating Emerging Infectious Diseases,

He stated that Lagos is prepared to welcome participants, policymakers, researchers, scientists and other interested persons to the conference, adding that the concept of One Health is necessary for ensuring biosecurity and all-around health.

In his remarks, the Chief Operating Officer of GET Consortium, Mr Ayodotun Bobadoye, noted that participants at the conference will include policymakers, scientists, researchers, healthcare professionals, experts in infectious disease management, professionals from one health field, development partners, community and opinion leaders amongst others from within and outside the continent.

Mr Bobadoye further noted that resolutions at the conference will help chart a positive course for strategic response against Biosecurity threats in Africa and by extension the world.

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Health

NCS Honours LASUTH for Excellence in Cardiovascular Care

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LASUTH Excellence in Cardiovascular Care

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) has been announced as the winner of the Excellence in Cardiovascular Care Award.

This award was given to LAUSTH on the premises the hospital is renowned for its contribution to the growth and development of cardiovascular medicine and surgery in the country.

The respected health institution grabbed this award at the 50th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Scientific Conference of the Nigeria Cardiac Society (NCS) held in Lagos recently.

LASUTH is one of the two tertiary hospitals carrying out open-heart surgery in Nigeria. It has continued to make giant strides in improving the lives of the citizens of Lagos State and its environs.

The soon to be quaternary hospital has over the years provided high-quality healthcare to Lagosians using state-of-the-art equipment and cutting-edge technology to solve common and emerging health problems.

LASUTH heart surgeons have performed some of the most advanced procedures in the medical field. The hospital has experienced professionals who specialize in open-heart surgeries that effectively treat heart conditions while minimizing patients’ recovery time and maximizing the best possible outcomes.

This made the NCS during the recently concluded Scientific Conference honour the hospital for her feats and outstanding achievement in tackling cardiovascular diseases through a consistent open-heart surgery with great success.

It was learned that these surgical feats would not have been possible without the expertise of the medical professionals at the LASUTH Cardio-Thoracic Surgery Unit (CTSU) led by Dr Bode Falase, a cardiac surgeon and ably supported by the management of the hospital, under the leadership of the Chief Medical Director, Prof. Adetokunbo Fabamwo.

In a few weeks, LASUTH will be the only government-owned hospital with a cardiac catheterization laboratory (Cathlab). This is a laboratory with special imaging equipment used for the visualization of the arteries and checking blood flow to and from the heart.

LASUTH said one of the advantages of using its facility for cardiovascular issues is that patients would be exceptionally cared for at a reduced cost while also reducing medical tourism.

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