Europe Trashes More Vaccines Than It Gives to Africa

Photo: Peter Oba/Xinhua via Getty Images

In yet another tale showcasing the priorities of this system, the European Union (EU) is set to dispose of 25 million more vaccine doses than it has donated to Africa this year. While in mid-February they had provided 30 million vaccines to the continent, by the end of the month it is estimated they threw away about 55 million.

Nearly a quarter of a million African people have died of Covid so far. Yet Europe is blocking manufacturers in Africa from making their own vaccines, while hoarding millions of doses that they would rather let expire than provide to those without access to the vaccine.

But what can we expect in a system that functions in the interests of profit? The EU would sooner protect the financial interests of the pharmaceutical companies than save the lives of African people. And in fact, the only reason African countries don’t have the same access to the vaccine in the first place is because of a historical legacy of imperialist countries, such as those in the EU, plundering the continent’s resources and ravaging its economies for their own interests.

So we can’t be surprised when Europe does not suddenly respond humanistically in times of crisis, such as a global pandemic. As Sani Baba Mohammed, Public Services International Regional Secretary for Africa and Arab countries said: “The EU claims they are promoting a ‘prosperous partnership of equals’ with the African Union – yet they are throwing more vaccine doses in the trash than they are donating to us, while continuing to block a waiver on vaccine patents which would enable us to produce our own vaccines. What’s equal about that? This vaccine apartheid – perpetuated by the EU – has a brutal human cost. Our livelihoods continue to be destroyed, our economies shattered, our health workers pushed beyond the brink.”