A report by the global health consultancy firm states that systematic racism and misinformation are among the reasons for the minimum uptake of the Covid-19 vaccines in countries such as Kenya.
Matahari Global solutions, International Treatment Preparedness Coalition, and Peoples Vaccine Allowance cited other barriers in the report are inaccessible testing sites, limited vaccine supplies, minimal or no access to antiviral treatment, misinformation, and colonial oppression.
Maaza Seyoum, Global South convener for the peoples’ vaccine allowance, said that people in the global south have been neglected and their lives treated as an afterthought.
“Local populations are expected to shoulder the blame and be grateful for what vaccines they do receive when there has been little effort to meet their needs. It is yet more evidence of the systematic racism that has plagued the global response to Covid-19,” she said.
These findings are different from the claims made by some scientists and pharmaceutical companies about low uptake of Covid-19 vaccines.
Dr. Fifa Rahman, principal consultant at Matahari Global solutions, said that throughout the pandemic, low vaccination rates in lower income countries have been conveniently dismissed as the result of vaccine hesitancy, are false allegations according to their report.
“People face a litany of barriers to accessing Covid-19 vaccines and treatments from undersupply of vaccines and treatments to underfunding of health systems and poor adaptation to local needs. These are issues of equity,” Rahman added.
The findings are based on information from 14 countries in the Global South that had not reached a 10 per cent vaccination rate at the beginning of the study.
Nadia Ratiff, ITPC’s advocacy and influence lead said that investing in more pharmaceutical manufacturing in lower income countries and maximizing the use of the existing public health safeguards could improve reliability of access to vaccines and treatments.
The researchers urged governments, pharmaceutical companies and international agencies to address issues that are an obstacle to access vaccines and treatments.