Nine out of ten people in Swaziland (eSwatini) will not be able to get a coronavirus vaccine in 2021, according to a new report.
This is because the kingdom is poor and richer nations have made deals with manufacturers and will get vaccines ahead of others. The People’s Vaccine Alliance, a coalition of global and national organizations, is calling for a global agreement under the World Health Assembly to share information and technology and distribute COVID-19 (coronavirus) vaccines, diagnostics, tests and treatments free of charge to every person in the world.
Anna Marriott, Oxfam’s health policy manager said, ‘No one should be blocked from getting a life-saving vaccine because of the country they live in or the amount of money in their pocket.’
Mohga Kamal Yanni, from the People’s Vaccine Alliance said in a statement, ‘Rich countries have enough doses to vaccinate everyone nearly three times over, whilst poor countries don’t even have enough to even reach health workers and people at risk.’
Swaziland is one of 67 lower-middle income countries that will only have access to a vaccine through the COVAX Advanced Market Commitment. The global initiative works directly with vaccine manufacturers to ‘provide countries worldwide equitable access to safe and effective vaccines,’ according to the World Health Organisation, but its success depends upon the participation of other countries.
Steve Cockburn, Amnesty International’s Head of Economic and Social Justice said, ‘By buying up the vast majority of the world’s vaccine supply, rich countries are in breach of their human rights obligations. Instead, by working with others to share knowledge and scale up supply, they could help bring an end to the global COVID-19 crisis.’
As of 9 December 2020 6,612 people had tested positive for coronavirus and 125 had died in Swaziland, according to the Swazi Ministry of Health.