Somalia-based Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab militants have dismissed the AstraZeneca vaccine which was recently developed in the fight against Coronavirus, arguing that it is “harmful” and thus, cannot be used by her members as a preventive dose.
Coronavirus has continued to wreak havoc across the world for a year now, leading to millions of deaths, besides infecting millions of people across the globe. Although Africa is not that much affected, scientists have always been raising issues about the ability to test.
In Somalia, the disease has killed hundreds even though experts say many may have died without the knowledge of medics since not everyone gets tested. The country received Covid-19 vaccines last week and a number of people have been vaccinated.
In a statement issued on Tuesday by the militants, the groups insisted that the AstraZeneca vaccine was not up to standard, adding that “its harms far outweigh its alleged benefit”. This was the group’s first statement on the vaccine.
Al-Shabaab’s statement on AstraZeneca was issued by the Office of Politics and Wilaayaat, not by doctors and scientists. AS didn’t provide evidence why AstraZeneca is not beneficial; it has rather referred to the brief suspensions of the vaccine by some European countries.
Also important to note that Somali health officials who have been vaccinated thousands of members of the public have not reported any harm caused by AstraZeneca, so far. Authorities are keen to have everybody vaccinated in the country.
Last year, the group’s political office had dismissed the virus, arguing that it was a creation of the West with an aim of punishing Third World countries. It, however, did not provide evidence with regard to the virus and did not issue members with precautionary measures.