Playing footsies…

…with COVID-19 vaccine
It was with great satisfaction (and some surprise) that your Eyewitness observed Health Minister Anthony announcing that the African Union (AU) has pledged to supply some 1.5 million shots of one of the COVID-19 vaccines to Caricom, out of which we’ll end up with 149,000 shots.
The report stated that, with two shots of this variety needed, we can expect that some 74,000 Guyanese would be inoculated from this source. Why this was a surprise is because Africa have been complaining bitterly that they were being left out in the global sourcing of the vaccines, which has seen the rise of “COVID-19 nationalism”.
Rich countries like Canada have leveraged their wealth to secure almost FIVE TIMES the number of shots that are needed to inoculate their ENTIRE POPULATION!! It was only last week that the AU was able to secure some 400 million shots from the Serum Institute of India (SII) to top off the 270 million they’d secured before. Along with the vaccines to be made available via the World Health Organization-backed Covax scheme, this brings the total for Africa to 1.27 billion.
However, these commitments, at the very best, start with 50 million doses in April or May, and the rest extending into next year. Africa still have a long way to go to satisfy their own needs, with 1.5 billion vaccine doses needed to immunise 60 percent of their 1.3 billion inhabitants costing between $7 and $10 billion. This is expected to provide coverage for the 60% of Africans needed to give the continent “herd immunity”, which most countries hope to achieve at the very best. In Africa, South Africa have been hardest hit by COVID-19, and they have had to pay a premium price for their commitments, which are only now being rolled out.
So, for the AU to commit 1.5 million of their doses is a great act of solidarity with the Caribbean. It has been some surprise to your Eyewitness that India haven’t stepped up to the crease in the supply of COVID-19 vaccines to Guyana. They’ve committed 1 million doses to Barbados…but this was on a commercial basis. Much more was expected from India, which have ambitions of playing a greater role on the world stage. China, for instance, have promised 20,000 doses of their Sinovac to add to the 20% coverage promised by the WHO combine.
The number of persons testing positive remains very high in comparison to the number of persons being tested, implying that many afflicted persons might be slipping under the radar. The authorities have been intensifying the warnings to observe protocols.
Maybe they understand that herd immunity via vaccination is some ways off!

…on Parliament
Yesterday, your Eyewitness mentioned – en passant – that the PNC decided to convene their own private “Parliament” in front of Stabroek Market. They complain they’re not being given a “hearing” in the National Assembly. Now, what kind of “assishness” is this? Isn’t the very essence of Parliamentary governance to get off soapboxes and engage in EXCHANGE of views on the floor of Parliament?
The PNC, however, complain that their motion for condemning the murders of the Henry cousins (and the afterthought, Harish Singh) wasn’t entertained. What’s to “condemn”? Don’t they realise this matter is sub-judice and there have already been charges laid against three persons? But the PNC aren’t interested in addressing the problems of the country, are they? They simply want to stir up emotions – as Granger and Harmon did after visiting the Henrys’ home to precipitate the violence that engulfed West Berbice for a week.
The “Big Market Parliament” idea was floated by the WPA. So, are the APNU gonna invite them back into the fold as “pretend MPs”?

…on bling
PNC MP Jermaine Figueira says DHB Mgr Rawlston “Bracelet” Adams should quit his roles in the Guyana Football Federation – including that of Chair of its Financial Committee.
Yet Mr Bling, Patterson, should remain head of the PAC?