Cheaper to vaccinate Africa? Welcoming the Omicron Variant
Africa is basically unvaccinated. Four weeks ago, I suggested that the cost to vaccinate the entire African continent would run approx $20-40 billion (@$20/dose the going rate). That's about 1% of the Dem's infrastructure package. Ergo cheap!
Or we could wait for new variant COVID strains to percolate and wash ashore on our continent indefinitely. Omicron is the lastest flavor of the month. Hummm....what to do? Tough choice?
A new coronavirus variant has the world on edge: Omicron.
Countries around the world are scrambling to stop the spread after the W.H.O. described Omicron as a “variant of concern,” its most serious category. The W.H.O. said the variant, first detected in southern Africa, carries a number of genetic mutations that might allow it to spread quickly, perhaps even among those who are vaccinated. But scientists say vaccines seem likely to work against it.
Omicron has already been spotted in Hong Kong and Belgium and may well be in other countries outside of Africa. Germany, Italy and Britain reported cases yesterday. African officials lashed out at new travel bans, saying that the continent was again bearing the brunt of panicked policies from Western countries and that vaccine hoarding helped pave the way to this crisis.
European nations did not find the variant until after South Africa alerted them to it, demonstrating the gaps in their own surveillance efforts.
The response has been scattershot. Britain reimposed a mask-wearing order for stores and public transportation. Chaos ensued in Amsterdam for passengers traveling from South Africa. New York State declared a state of emergency in anticipation of a new surge in cases.