ANTANANARIVO, 2 April 2021 – The Indian Ocean nation of Madagascar has said it will join the global COVID-19 vaccine access initiative, COVAX.
“There are still many steps to be taken before access to the vaccines, but the registration is already an important step in the process,” Madagascar’s Minister of Public Health Prof Jean Louis Rakotovao said in a video posted on the ministry’s official Facebook page.
Madagascar along with Tanzania and Burundi were, so far, the only three African countries who indicated that they would not be participating in the COVAX initiative.
The decision is a 180 degrees swing from the initial position of Antananarivo which has bragged, in the past, about finding a herbal-based cure to the new coronavirus.
Madagascar previously said would stick with using its locally produced so-called remedy known as COVID-Organics.
Tanzania and Burundi are yet to show a similar change of heart, making them the only African countries not planning to import COVID-19 vaccines.
Madagascar continues to tout the effectiveness of COVID-Organics which the country makes available in tea and pill form.
Malagasy President Andry Rajoelina himself has brandished COVID-Organics as a cure, claiming that Africans had come of age to produce their own drugs.
The Wold Health Organization (WHO) has not, to this day, said there is a cure for COVID-19, making vaccines the best way of stopping its spread and the massive deaths they bring.
As of Friday, Madagascar had confirmed 24,696 COVID-19 cases with a total of 433 fatalities and 22,132 full recoveries, according to Malagasy public health data and information updated daily by the World Health Organization and Johns Hopkins University Hospital.