Africa protests EU’s vaccine apartheid in Green Pass policy
The African Union is deeply upset about an apparent discriminatory policy by the European Union in travel bans for people vaccinated with the World Health Organisation-backed AstraZeneca vaccine produced in India.
Further, with a paltry one percent of Africa’s population vaccinated as the delta strain of the Covid-19 sweeps across the continent leaving a trail of death and suffering, the AU is citing bias in the global distribution of the available doses.
Only a trickle of vaccination donations are coming in from wealthy countries.
Major moves to quicken commercial vaccine rollout across the continent have come too late to prevent calamities, the AU says.
On Thursday, when the EU digital programme Green Pass came into effect, AU officials leading the war on the coronavirus could not hide their exasperation with the treatment of Africans by Europe.
The Green Pass is a vaccine passport that allows people to travel within the EU from July 1, 2021, as long as they have had one of four certified vaccines: Pfizer/BioNtech, Moderna, Vaxzervria by AstraZeneca-Oxford and Janssen by Johnson&Johnson.
It will also provide data about whether the person had Covid, has recovered or was recently tested.
While Vaxzervria, the AstraZeneca vaccine produced and authorised in Europe, is on the EU list, Covishield, produced under licence by the Serum Institute of India — and largely distributed in Africa — is excluded.