the government refuses vaccines and prefers local medicines

Madagascar does not want to participate in the Covax Facility, the global initiative for access to antiquated vaccines, once their registration and approval has been completed. The government spokesman confirmed this this evening, November 26, to RFI. This initiative is open to all countries in the world. A special provision allows 92 developing countries, including Madagascar, to have access to subsidized doses of vaccines as soon as they are placed on the market. The Big Island prefers to retire and take advantage of the health investments it has already made.

as reported from Antananarivo,Sarah Tétaud

“We discussed it on Tuesday night in the Council of Ministers,” said government spokeswoman Lalatiana Rakotondrazafy Andriatongarivo. We are not yet taking a position on the vaccine. In other words, we are not on the list of future recipient countries. ”

This is an alarm clock for donors who did not expect such a decision. “Discussions were still going on on Monday,” comments an official with traditional donors. We knew that President Rajoelina was reluctant to the vaccine, but his staff still tried to convince him. They had the opportunity to register on the list of beneficiaries until 7 December and then withdraw if they changed. ”

The various contacted donors confirm this: a very large lobbying campaign is underway to force Madagascar to join this global initiative.

“Medically,” said a public health expert, “not having access to the vaccine should not be a disaster for the Malagasy people as it appears to have been quite resistant to the disease. But when we look at the consequences of Covid-19 on the health care system, on the economic and social activities in the country, we know that the vaccine can avoid the second wave, which risks being economically catastrophic for the island. . So when it comes to public health, it is absurd to refuse a vaccine that costs almost no state. ”

Vaccination is not very popular in the country

The government has confirmed that it prefers to focus on locally developed drugs. As Covid Organics, this traditional remedy announced by the President for its preventive and curative effects on the virus but which has never been scientifically proven. “We are waiting to see the effectiveness of the vaccine first in the countries that will use it first,” the government spokesman concluded.

For its part, Gavi, one of the two international organizations coordinating the financing and delivery of vaccines, confirmed on Thursday that it has not yet been officially notified of the decision taken by the Malagasy state.

As a reminder, in Madagascar, vaccination is not a therapy that is very popular among the population. In general, vaccination coverage is poor. That is why, for example, the Big Island was one of the last four countries in the world that still counted polio patients until 2018.

Also read: Madagascar: view of Covid

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