Francesco Rutelli, president of the Soft Power Club, in awarding the head of the African action against Covid, who came to Venice from Addis Ababa to receive the 1st Soft Power Prize, said: “John Nkengasong’s courage, commitment and scientific wisdom tell us that no one can save themselves from the pandemic. Only together can we do it.”
Covid. Nkengasong, without vaccines in Africa it risks becoming endemic
“Developing countries have fallen behind and unless something is done to make them catch up there is a risk of new variants developing, so the evolution of the virus is still unpredictable. The only way to end the pandemic is to vaccinate quickly. Unfortunately, the vaccination situation in Africa is regrettable. Out of a population of 1.2 billion, only 2.5% have been vaccinated and our goal is to get to 70%. It’s a long way from 2.5% to 70%. For Africa, the consequences are negative, with the risk of the pandemic becoming endemic, which is already happening. For the rest of the world, if the pace of vaccination in Africa does not accelerate, there is a risk that more variants will develop that are more aggressive and pathogenic than the current ones. So, it is in the collective interest that everyone gets vaccinated. You have to win people over with the heart: soft power, the power of persuasion, is the right direction to take to convince people to vaccinate” said John Nkengason, director of the African Centres for Disease Prevention and Control, as he received the Soft Power Prize from Philippe Donnet, Group CEO of Generali.
“I believe,” continues Nkengasong, “that it is necessary to regionalize competences, that is, to ensure that each country is able to diagnose, develop and produce the vaccine locally. If we don’t do this, the current imbalance will remain and in case of a pandemic some countries will be favoured, while others will remain behind. Suffice it to say that Africa currently imports 99% of its vaccines while producing 1%. We need soft power to restore the balance of what I call global health security architecture”.