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Thursday, October 21, 2021
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Vaccine Hesitancy Runs High
In Some African Countries - kenya

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Vaccine hesitancy runs high in some African countries, in some cases leaving unused doses to expire.

A policeman guarding a shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, in early March. 
A policeman guarding a shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, in early March. Credit...Thoko Chikondi/Associated Press

With growing community transmission and high average mortality rates from the coronavirus in Malawi, there was widespread concern among the country’s health care advocates this week when the authorities announced that they would throw away 16,000 vaccine doses that had expired.

They were part of a total of 512,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses that the landlocked southeast African nation had received from India, the African Union and Covax, the global initiative to procure and distribute vaccines. Health officials didn’t specify why the vaccines had expired, but said the doses went void on Tuesday “due to varying expiry dates of the received vaccine consignments.”

Health experts and campaigners warned that vaccine hesitancy, along with rumors that out-of-date jabs were being administered, might have contributed to the slow distribution of the vaccine doses and their eventual expiration.

In many African countries, vaccination campaigns have been hindered by factors like science skepticism, limited or no efforts to educate the public, inefficient distribution systems and concerns over the extremely rare but serious cases of blood clots being investigated among a small number of people who received the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Those two vaccines, which require less stringent refrigeration, are crucial to efforts to immunize populations in poorer countries.

When the first vaccine doses arrived in Kenya in early March, there was widespread hesitancy to receive them, even among doctors, according to Dr. Chibanzi Mwachonda, the secretary-general of the Kenyan medical workers’ union. The government turned to administering the doses to nonessential workers to avoid wasting them. The Democratic Republic of Congo, which also received its first doses last month, delayed its vaccination campaign until April 19, a date it set after reporting that a task force had determined that the AstraZeneca vaccine doses in the country didn’t pose a risk to the population.

The apprehension over the vaccines also comes as the African Union stopped plans to secure the AstraZeneca vaccine — a decision one official said was made to avoid duplicating the efforts of Covax, which will still supply AstraZeneca to African nations. But even though the decision was not linked to concerns over blood clotting, experts said it could still magnify misinformation about the vaccine. And the African Union is shifting its focus to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which could add to the problem. Its use has been paused in the United States.

In African countries, public confusion over whether to get inoculated, and if so when and where to do so, has contributed to the expiration of doses. Like Malawi, South Sudan saw 59,000 unused doses expire this month.

The problem is not unique to African countries. Tens of thousands of jabs have also been thrown away in countries like France and the United States. But African countries face far more serious supply shortages. According to a New York Times database, Africa has the slowest vaccination rate of any continent, with many countries yet to start mass vaccination campaigns.

Countries like Ghana, which was the first African nation to receive doses from Covax, is about to run out of its initial supplies with no sense of when the next batch may come.

“This inequality negatively affects the entire world,” said Dr. Ngozi Erondu, an infectious disease specialist and a senior health scholar at the O’Neill Institute at Georgetown University. If “entire regions and countries remain insufficiently vaccinated,” she said, “it will continue to ravage populations with persistent morbidity and leave the larger global health community always vulnerable to the virus.”

Nigerian Government To Impose Heavy Tax On Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Other Tech Companies
Osinbajo said the government will utilise its legal provisions to collect taxes on profits made in the country by global technology and digital firms not based in the country, but with significant economic presence.

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Osinbajo said the government will utilise its legal provisions to collect taxes on profits made in the country by global technology and digital firms not based in the country, but with significant economic presence.

While noting that the Federal Government will not be raising tax rates at this time, based on the Finance Act 2019, the Vice President said it is already empowered to widen the tax net, including through the collection of taxes on the Nigerian income of global tech giants with significant economic presence here, even if they have not established an office or permanent establishment and are currently not paying taxes in Nigeria.

A statement from the Vice President’s office read, “While the Federal Government will not be raising tax rates at this time, based on the Finance Act 2019, it is already empowered to widen the tax net, including by collecting taxes on the Nigerian income of global tech giants with significant economic presence here, even if they have not established an office or permanent establishment and are currently not paying taxes in Nigeria.

“In this regard, Section 4 of the Finance Act 2019, provides that 'the Minister (Finance) may by order (of the President) determine what constitutes the significant economic presence of a company other than a Nigerian company.

“We have had severe economic downturns which of course implies that we may not be able to collect taxes with the aggressiveness that would ordinarily be expected.

“I think the most important thing is that we must widen our tax net so that more people who are eligible to pay tax are paying. Several efforts have been made, and I am sure you are aware of the initiatives including the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) which was also an attempt to bring more people into the tax net, including those who have foreign assets.”

Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tiktok will be mostly affected by the new tax imposition when implemented.

These platforms are part of technological companies operating in Nigeria but are located abroad.

Making Brain Connections and Business
Success is a Few Principles Away

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If we simply pay closer attention to the emails, phone calls, and online interactions that make up our days, we can in turn create solid relationships with colleagues and clients alike.

Read on for her tips on how you can make more meaningful connections in the coming months:

Improve your social networking skills.

In today's business world, social networking can't be ignored. We promote products on Facebook, network through LinkedIn, and get our news updates via tweets on Twitter. And while social networking is a great way to connect, it can be easy to forget that what you are aiming for are meaningful connections. And making meaningful connections via social media can sometimes take a little extra work and a different approach. Kuzmeski says that using a few simple rules of thumb can help make your social networking more efficient.

"Just like your real-life relationships, you should be picky about who you make connections with online," she asserts. "Choose to connect with people who have similar interests or who are working in your particular field. And when someone you know, want to know, or need to know connects with you online, you should always reciprocate.

Remember: It's quality, not quantity.

While the connections you make through social media are important—especially when you can transform those connections into relationships—you have to be careful not to get caught up in a more, more, more mentality, where you are constantly striving to get more friends on Facebook or to tweet more often during your day.

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