Elumelu, Kidjo, Davido, Others Call On World Leaders To Donate Pledged COVID-19 Vaccines
As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, some prominent Africans have joined their voices to calls for more vaccines for the continent.
Nigerian entrepreneur, Tony Elumelu; Beninese singer and songwriter, Angelique Kidjo; and Nigerian pop star, David Adeleke a.k.a Davido, were among 48 UNICEF Africa ambassadors and supporters who recently signed a letter to leaders of more wealthy countries to honour their promises to urgently deliver excess doses of the COVID-19 vaccines.
“The letter’s signatories, including Angelique Kidjo, Arlo Parks, Davido, Tendai Mtawarira, Femi Kuti, Tony Elumelu, Ramla Ali, Winnie Byanyima and others, are calling on leaders to donate the pledged vaccines by December, along with the necessary resources to turn the vaccines into vaccinations,” a statement by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Wednesday.
According to the agency, wealthy countries with more supplies than they need had generously pledged to donate those doses to low and middle-income countries via COVAX but the promised doses are moving too slowly.
“Of the 1.3 billion additional doses countries have pledged to donate, only 356 million doses have been provided to COVAX,” UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore said, adding that “African countries, in particular, have largely been left without access to COVID-19 vaccines”.
“Less than five per cent of the African population are fully vaccinated, leaving many countries at high-risk of further outbreaks.
“Vaccine inequity is not just holding the poorest countries back – it is holding the world back,” Fore added.
The agency is, however, optimistic that the plea from some of its ambassadors could go a long way.
“As leaders prepare to meet for the G20 Summit in Rome this weekend, 48 UNICEF Africa ambassadors and supporters from across the continent have united in an open letter. They are calling for leaders to honour their promises to urgently deliver doses, writing that ‘the stakes could not be higher,’ the statement read in part.