The Congolese head of state is multiplying his communications around the AstraZeneca vaccine. After two declarations in June, Félix Tshisekedi, during a press conference, declared that he was right not to be vaccinated. This new communication could again weaken the vaccination campaign, as the country faces the third wave and prepares the diversification of vaccines.
« I was right not to get vaccinated at AstraZeneca. Moreover, I was not convinced, » said Félix Tshisekedi, during an exclusive interview granted to two Congolese channels (RTNC and Top Congo). This new communication reinforces the doubts and mistrust surrounding a vaccination campaign that is not getting good press in the public opinion, while the country is facing the third wave.
Vaccination against a background of trial and error?
As a good narrator, Félix Tshisekedi, during this interview, noted that: « we were ready to launch the vaccination campaign. The day before, I saw this information (ineffectiveness of AstraZeneca, editor’s note) first on television and then on social networks. I passed this information on to the minister to tell him to be careful, tomorrow we are launching the vaccination campaign but look at what is happening in Europe. All these Scandinavian countries in Western Europe had taken the decision to suspend AstraZeneca. They felt that it was not effective. A fortiori, we who had benefited from this product, could only go in the same direction.
Indeed, these words show the laxity with which this campaign is being conducted, if we are to believe the communication of the former Minister of Health, Eteni Longondo, who, at the launch of the campaign, maintained in a perceptive tone that: « After studies in Europe, and after other studies and analyses here at home, by our scientific committee (…) we have come to the conclusion that the advantages, the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the reported side effects.
Thus, the least that can be said is that, if the communication of the Head of State is limited to the « AstraZeneca » vaccine, in essence it taints the continuation of the famous vaccination campaign in the Democratic Republic of Congo, despite the prospect of diversifying vaccines.