Health ministers of countries of the Central African Economic and Monetary Commission, (CEMAC), have been meeting by videoconference since Tuesday, Jan.19 to brainstorm on which COVID-19 vaccine to acquire for use in their respective countries.
Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Congo Brazzaville are members of the Commission.
Also taking part in the meeting are technical experts and members of the scientific committees for the fight against the COVID-19 as well as representatives of national centres for the purchase of medicines.
The meeting was necessitated by the spike in COVID-19 cases in the world and in particular, within the sub-region.
According to the Organisation for the Coordination of the Fight Against Endemic Diseases in Central Africa, (OCEAC), 900 new cases of COVID-19 were registered in the Central Africa sub-region within the first week of 2021.
The sub-region currently has 56,000 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 with 2,600 active cases and 880 deaths from the pandemic.
The situation remains very preoccupying for the health authorities of the CEMAC countries.
“Reflections are being carried out on the necessity for vaccination against the coronavirus within the member states of CEMAC especially on how to vaccinate and by which population groups to start the vaccination,” reveals Dr Parfait Awono Ambene, the OCEAC Chief of Service for Research.
During the opening of deliberations, Dr Manaouda Malachi, Cameroon’s Minister of Public Health insisted on indispensable consensus and the putting in place of a sub-regional scientific committee.
Dr Malachi noted that it was necessary to “harmonise our points of view and to create a synergy of actions on an efficacious tool against this pandemic within this communal space – CEMAC”.
“It is rather unfortunate that while some countries have already acquired the vaccine and are just preparing to start administering it on their populations, the CEMAC zone countries are still discussing on which vaccine to choose,” said a medical expert taking part in the discussions who opted for anonymity because of the sensitive nature of his opinion.
“By the time they choose the particular vaccine before they start searching for donors or financial sponsors to pay for the chosen vaccine, thousands of lives shall have been lost,” he added.