During a bilateral meeting between Dr Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, Acting Director General of Africa CDC, and Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) Commissioner PECK Kyong Ran it was announced that the KDCA will donate a batch of the mpox vaccine to Africa. The meeting took place at the 7th Global Health Security Agenda Ministerial Meeting held in the Seoul, the Republic of Korea.  

Mpox in Africa 

The African CDC emphasises that mpox has been “endemic for decades in some African countries”. However, with recent outbreaks in other countries, the WHO declared it a PHEIC in July 2022. The statement from CDC suggests that this decision “sparked a more coordinated international response”, yet Africa “has yet to receive vaccines”. As we noted in an earlier article, this is a frustration for health leaders in Africa, who called for attention at the “source”.  

Collaboration with Korea 

Dr Ahmed Ogwell Ouma welcomed the collaboration behind the donation. It comes after an agreement signed in April 2022 through a MoU between Africa CDC and KDCA.  

“We appreciate this gesture and assure that these mpox vaccines will be prioritised in the most affected African Union Member States.” 

The MoU reportedly established a “joint plan of action” to promote cooperation in “areas of mutual interest”. As we have previously noted, Africa produces a very small percentage of the vaccines it requires. This is hopefully changing through knowledge and technology transfers, which will enable the continent to be less dependent on wealthier areas for vaccines. This inevitably and unfortunately results in vaccine nationalism and hoarding, rather than equitable access.  

The announcement of this donation comes days after the Republic of Korea was congratulated on obtaining ML4 in the WHO assessment of its Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.  

To hear more from experts on the future of vaccines and viruses in Africa at the World Vaccine Congress in Washington, April 2022, get your tickets today.