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Statement on the remarkable progress made by several African countries as part of the Partnerships for African Vaccine Manufacturing (PAVM)

The Partnerships for African Vaccine Manufacturing (PAVM) was launched by H.E Felix Tshisekedi, Chair of the African Union and President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, during a virtual summit hosted by the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention on 12-13th April 2021 under the theme “Expanding Africa’s Vaccine Manufacturing for Health Security: Building back better, bolder and bigger.

This landmark global summit was attended by over 40,000 participants from the Private sector, Industry, World Health Organization (WHO), World Trade Organization, Public Health, Ministries of Health and Finance, philanthropic foundations, academia, community health organisations and health professionals from over 100 countries. Strong political commitments were made to drive momentum for the African Union’s bold vision to manufacture about 60% of its vaccines on the continent by 2040, an initiative that will be led by Africa CDC. Amongst the African leaders in attendance were:

• H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission. • H.E President Cyrill Ramaphosa, Champion and President of the Republic of South Africa, • H.E President Paul Kagame, Health Financing Champion and President of Republic of Rwanda, who called for more African countries to rapidly build capacity to adopt advanced technologies to enable manufacture of mRNA vaccines.

Since the Summit, several countries have made remarkable progress: • On the 10th of July 2021, Senegal, the European Union, the United States, several European governments, and partners, signed an accord to finance vaccine production at the Institut Pasteur of Dakar. • On the 5th of July 2021, Morocco; under the chairmanship of H.M King Mohammed VI, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Swedish company “Recipharm” to establish and scale-up COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing capacity in the country. Moroccan pharmaceutical producers also discussed different public-private partnerships and subcontraction opportunities for vaccine manufacturing. • On the 28th of June 2021, South Africa; signed an agreement between Biovac, Afrigen Biologics & Vaccines, a network of universities, WHO, COVAX, and Africa CDC established the first COVID-19 mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub in Africa. • On the 29th of April 2021, Egypt; signed two agreements between Holding Company for Biological Products and Vaccines (VACSERA) and Sinovac for COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing in the country. • On the 7th of April 2021, Algeria announced production of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine in partnership with Russia, and part of the production is intended for African countries.

You can find the post-summit communique by clicking on the following link – Communique (https://bit.ly/2TYUOTi)
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). Statement on the remarkable progress made by several African countries as part of the Partnerships for African Vaccine Manufacturing (PAVM)

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This post originally posted here The European Times News

A remarkable overlap between two maps shows states that voted for Biden have higher vaccination rates than those that went for Trump

A remarkable overlap between two maps shows states that voted for Biden have higher vaccination rates than those that went for Trump
A remarkable overlap between two maps shows states that voted for Biden have higher vaccination rates than those that went for Trump
Notice anything?
Assuming your brain is, well, working, you will notice the remarkable overlap between the two maps; states that voted for Joe Biden have higher vaccination rates while those that went for Donald Trump have far lower ones. And it’s not just that! In most cases, the stronger a state went for Biden, the higher the overall vaccination rate in that state is. That relationship is inversely proportional for Trump: The higher the former President’s winning percentage is in a state, the lower, generally speaking, the percentage of the population that has been vaccinated.
So, for example, Biden won 66% of the vote in Vermont in 2020. That same number — 66% — of Vermonters are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19. In Minnesota, Biden won with 52% of the vote. And, yup, you guessed it, 52% of the population has been fully vaccinated. In New Mexico, Biden took 54% of the vote in 2020; as of now, 55% of New Mexicans are vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The flip side is also true. In Idaho, Trump won 64% of the vote. Just 36% of the state is fully vaccinated. Trump won 65% in Oklahoma; less than 4 in 10 (39%) residents of the state are fully vaccinated.
And on and on (and on) it goes. (If you want to play around with the similarity of the two maps more, here’s the 2020 Electoral College map and here’s the current vaccination rate map.)
b) Depressing
c) Unnecessary
d) Revealing
The first three are obvious. The revealing part is this: EVERYTHING — including public health — is now best understood through a partisan lens.
In theory, there is absolutely no reason why states that voted heavily for Trump should be any less willing to take a vaccine to fight a virus that has killed more than 600,000 Americans than states that went strongly for Biden. After all, Covid-19 doesn’t check who you voted for in 2020 before infecting you. The virus is remarkably nonpartisan.
Unfortunately for all of us — but most especially for people in Trump states who are still not vaccinated — that’s not how lots and lots of people see it. Refusing the vaccine is regarded by some decent-sized chunk of Trump voters as a badge of honor — a statement of their freedom from government oppression, or something.
That’s true despite the fact that Trump himself has not only been infected with the virus but has also received the vaccination. And has even advocated for others to get it too! “I would recommend it and I would recommend it to a lot of people that don’t want to get it and a lot of those people voted for me, frankly,” he said back in March.
The problem, of course, is that the Trump/freedom train had long left the station by then. Trump spent so long downplaying the virus, brazenly flouting public health guidelines to prevent the spread and openly questioning the need to wear masks that anything and everything to do with Covid-19 became political. And that very much includes whether or not you should get a vaccine with an unbelievably high efficacy rate against a virus that has killed more than 4 million people globally.
Like I said above: Stupid. And a reflection that our partisan political moment is dangerous — in more ways than one.

‘Talk about precision’: Fans amazed as French ace Griezmann and wife pull off remarkable hat-trick of baby dates

‘Talk about precision’: Fans amazed as French ace Griezmann and wife pull off remarkable hat-trick of baby dates

Fans online have reacted to a unusual phenomenon pulled off by Antoine Griezmann and his wife.

At 10.24 this morning in Spain, the World Cup winner and his partner Erika Choperena welcomed daughter Alba to the world. 

She joins Mia, 5, and Amaro, 2, as the forward was excused from training by his club FC Barcelona on the eve of El Clasico.

But the Griezmann siblings share something unheard of, in that they were apparently all born on the same day, April 8, which means that Mia and Amaro celebrated their birthday today and were given a younger sister as a present.

The development has amused fans on social media no end. 

Taking to Twitter to reply to a series of posts on the matter, their wisecracks rolled in with regards to an accomplishment that rivals winning Les Bleus their second world title in Russia in 2018.

“Talk about precision” quipped one, while others pointed out that Grizi “scored a hat trick on April 8”, “scheduled his kids” or purposely targeted being intimate with his wife on July 15.

Amaro appears likely to be a World Cup final baby.

On said mid-summer date three years ago, Griezmann scored the penalty that put Didier Deschamps’ men 2-1 ahead of Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium, before they romped home to a 4-2 win in which he was announced Man of the Match.

Now an integral part of Ronald Koeman’s plans at the Camp Nou, the 30-year-old can cap a perfect week by helping Barca beat bitter rivals Real Madrid on Saturday and finally reach the La Liga summit. 
Also on rt.com ‘Incredible’: Irate Messi suggests referee wanted to show him yellow card which would have ruled Barcelona star out of Clasico

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Predator: The remarkable and unlikely rise of UFC heavyweight knockout artist Francis Ngannou

Predator: The remarkable and unlikely rise of UFC heavyweight knockout artist Francis Ngannou

Regardless of whether or not he raises aloft the UFC heavyweight title at this weekend’s UFC 260, Francis Ngannou’s rise to the summit of mixed martial arts has been a triumph against the odds.

Perhaps no fighter in the UFC has had a more unlikely journey towards title contention than 34-year-old Ngannou. Born into poverty in the Cameroonian town of Batie, he was forced to confront many of the demons which had sent so many of his peers off the rails.

The young Ngannou had almost no formal education to speak of. Even as a teenager, his developing frame had made him the target of recruiters for several rival gangs in his area, but Ngannou resisted the lure of (some) money and the associated trappings of gang life which has cost the lives of so many young men on the African continent. 

He had other motivations entirely. Perhaps influenced by his father who had a fearsome reputation as a street-fighter, the young Ngannou soon realized that he didn’t want to follow the same path; one where violence is the quickest path towards respect. 
Also on rt.com ‘Africa vs everybody’: Francis Ngannou winds up Stipe Miocic & Tony Ferguson as he targets history in UFC heavyweight title clash
I don’t find it fun to talk about [my childhood],” Ngannou told ESPN this week. 

“It’s not happy. It’s sad. I always admire people when I sit around and see people, friends or somebody else, talking about their childhood; their friends when they were kids, all the things they were doing, their cartoons, kind of like culture.

I feel like those are the missing parts of my life, no matter what I do, I can’t really fill it up. That’s why in some way, I’m still trying to deal with that childhood. Winning a UFC belt, for me, would be my own way to answer that, would be my own way to show those people that, well, after all, I wasn’t bad.”

Between his childhood and this weekend’s opportunity to win the UFC heavyweight title, Francis Ngannou has lived the lives of ten men. 

After deciding to leave his homeland to pursue his dream of becoming professional boxer, Ngannou migrated north towards Morocco – but as he explains, this was just the first step in journey which would helping him realize his athletic dreams.

It came at a cost: eating from bins, two months in a Spanish jail and countless nights spent sleeping rough on the streets of Paris.

My journey from Cameroon to Morocco was about one year,” Ngannou explained. “One year in illegal situations, crossing borders, living in the bush, finding food in the trash, living this terrible life.”

It didn’t get better quickly, either. Ngannou’s ultimate destination was Europe and he chose Spain as the gateway to his new life – only to immediately come to the attention of immigration personnel, and subsequently jail.

It was more stressful than scary,” Ngannou said of his stint inside. “When we got to Spain, for the first while, we kind of relaxed, even though we were in jail. We knew we were going to go to jail when we got there. We would be free after, but we were going to go to jail [first]. 

There was a lot of pressure in our minds. It was like a mental prison, not a physical prison. It was very hard.”

All things, as they say, must pass – and so they did for Ngannou. He eventually landed in his chosen destination of Paris, the capital city of a country which shares a mother tongue with his native Cameroon.

And while the hardships were still plentiful, it was here that Ngannou says he soon began finding his feet.

I was homeless then, but at that moment, it wasn’t difficult for me anymore,” he said. “You might think being homeless in Paris in the fall when it’s coldwas not great, but the enthusiasm that I had at that time.

Beyond everything, I was happy to be in the land of opportunity. I was happy to have my own life and be able to chase my own dreams. So that’s definitely one of the happiest moments of my life.

Even though I was sleeping in parking lots and I didn’t have food or money, I was just free. Compared to where I was in Morocco, a parking lot was like a five-star hotel.

In Paris, around a decade after he first made a promise to himself to pursue combat sports, Francis Ngannou stepped into a fight gym for the first time in his life – and despite having quite literally never even heard of the sport, he soon found himself encamped in Paris’ renowned MMA Factory, where his dreams would quickly extend out in front of him.

It took me almost 10 years to step in a gym for the very first time, but I always believed it would happen,” he said. 

From here, most MMA fans know the rest. After winning five of his first six fights between late 2013 and the summer of 2015, Ngannou was headhunted by the UFC and opened his account in the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization by wracking off six finishes in a row and very much fulfilling the nickname handed to him: Predator. 

The final of those wins, a downright shocking uppercut KO of Alistair Overeem, earned him an opportunity to dethrone UFC heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic in January 2018 – a fight in which Ngannou’s relative inexperience was soundly taken advantage of by the champion.

Now though, with four more KO wins under his belt, Ngannou is returning for seconds at this weekend’s UFC 260. If he is able to seize the world title from around the waist of the most dominant heavyweight titleholder in UFC history at the second time of asking, it would represent perhaps the unlikeliest path to UFC gold yet.

But judging by his background, it won’t be the toughest fight he has ever been in. 
Also on rt.com ‘Africa vs everybody’: Francis Ngannou winds up Stipe Miocic & Tony Ferguson as he targets history in UFC heavyweight title clash

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