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Eritrea, the only country in the world, along with North Korea, to refuse vaccination

Isaias Afwerki

Isaias Afwerki

Burundi and Tanzania having finally agreed to vaccinate their populations against Covid-19, Eritrea is now the only African country that has not started its campaign.

"Personally, I have not yet been vaccinated and I have no intention of being." Madagascan President Andry Rajoelina, once proud to present natural remedies against Covid-19, seemed reluctant to use different vaccines. Since then, his country has been trying to get out of the health crisis. Madagascar began a vaccination campaign last May after receiving 250 doses of AstraZeneca's Covishield vaccine. This week, 000 additional doses of Janssen arrived, donated by the United States. Like Madagascar, several African countries have long hesitated to launch a large-scale vaccination campaign.

This is the case of Tanzania. President John Magufuli refused any anti-Covid measure from the WHO. The head of state, who died last March, was not planning any vaccination campaign. Since her death, Samia Suluhu Hassan has worked to bring Tanzania into line. Last June, a vaccination campaign began after the delivery of 100 doses of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V. In addition, Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, announced that Tanzania would join the Covax initiative .

Eritrea wants to find other ways

As for Burundi, it has long remained skeptical about the idea of ​​launching a national vaccination campaign. The government finally joined Covax, while warning that "there will be no compulsory vaccination for Burundians and the government will not be responsible for the consequences for those who get vaccinated". But this is an important first step for the country whose president, Évariste Ndayishimiye, last December, assured that “the virus does not exist in Burundi. Moreover, the others come to be treated here and prefer to stay after their recovery ”. The Minister of Health assured him that "the government will never accept a vaccine that will come to be tried on Burundians".

Officially, there is therefore only one country left that categorically refuses vaccination. Eritrea remains the only African state to be reluctant to use the vaccine: since the start of the pandemic, the official figures are well below reality: with less than 6 infections and 000 deaths from Covid-23, on With a population of nearly 19 million people, Eritrea avoids giving any indication of the country's health status.

Last March, the press indicated that Eritrea had still not submitted the documents necessary for the integration of the Covax device. It appears that local authorities are in no rush to receive doses of the vaccine. "The Eritrean government has also refused to introduce vaccines into the country for reasons similar to those in Tanzania, because its authorities believe that the pandemic can be stopped by other means," says the international organization DevelopmentAid.

Eritrea is now the only country in the world, along with North Korea, to refuse vaccination against Covid-19.

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