Africa Cup of Nations throws up jab dilemma

“If I get the jab, it’s just for the Indomitable Lions. I’m ready to die for them,” states Vincent Nemgne as he gets a coronavirus vaccine to see Cameroon open Africa’s leading football competition.

In the week prior to Sunday’s very first match in the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) in Cameroon, numerous fans have actually conquered unwillingness and asked to be immunized.

The African Football Confederation (CAF) has actually made vaccination compulsory to go into the arena, along with an unfavorable PCR test taken less than 72 hours prior to kick-off or an antigen test approximately 24 hr in the past.

“There is clearly a CAN effect. We have gone from 10 people a day to more than 100 since Monday. This is increasing exponentially,” Lucien Mom, planner of the Sports Palace of Yaounde vaccine centre, informed AFP.

“Until now, Cameroonians have refused to be vaccinated. The CAN has broken the psychological barriers and the hesitation,” Mom included ideally.

In the main African nation of 27 million individuals, simply 6 percent of the population over the age of 18 has actually been jabbed, according to main data, and lots of people freely decline to use masks.

However rigid arena entry requirements enforced by CAF might still prevent fans from going to matches.

On Tuesday, it was revealed arena participations would be restricted to 60 percent of capability — increasing to 80 percent when the Indomitable Lions play.

– ‘I will not go’ –

Beside the Sports Palace in the capital Yaounde, numerous lots fans waited to get jabbed in camping tents.

“I came to see how it goes,” stated Yaya Bachirou, 33. “I agree to be vaccinated only if I have my ticket for the match, and for the moment I do not have it yet.”

“For 15 minutes you sit and you don’t talk,” a nurse advises a client after the injection. “And you won’t have sex today either,” jokes her associate.

Rumours that the vaccine triggers sterility are commonly thought, along with numerous other misconceptions.

“The reluctance to be vaccinated is linked to a combination of factors,” discusses Larissa Kojoue, a scientist at Buea University in western Cameroon.

“It is firstly linked to ignorance about this still-recent disease, to the sometimes chaotic handling of the epidemic in the country, and to disinformation,” Kojoue stated.

“That has come mainly from Europe and the United States, and… reached a large part of the population, starting with the elites.”

In Yaounde, vaccination requirements for prospective viewers have actually stirred animosity.

“I wanted to go to support the Indomitable Lions. We have been waiting for this moment for 50 years. But I will not go because I do not want to be vaccinated,” objected Amougou who provided just his given name as he went shopping in the main market.

“They give a product so that African women no longer give birth!”

Dylan, a twenty years old electronic devices seller, stated “if the vaccination is compulsory, I will not go to the stadium unfortunately”.

“I will not be vaccinated for each variant and I do not want to be injected with a liquid that I do not know,” he stated.

– ‘I was disgusted’ –

In a little bar popular with football fans, the frustration is palpable amongst the regulars, practically all of whom are unvaccinated.

“I was disgusted with this decision. I was very excited about going to the stadium with my family, and now I am preparing to watch on television,” regreted Joel Nkamdem, the financing director of APEJES Academy of Mfou, a Yaounde club in the the top-flight Elite One nationwide league.

“It’s very unfair because vaccination is voluntary. Covid kills fewer people than malaria or typhoid fever and we have our own remedies. Furthermore, some vaccinated people still have the disease,” he includes.

Everybody spoken with by AFP stated they anticipated arenas to be filled regardless.

“We always find solutions,” a boy in his twenties stated mischievously, a green Cameroon jersey on his back.

Patrice Motsepe, the president of CAF, stated he understood “false tests” dispersing, however firmly insisted the pan-African organisation was “dealing with these problems”.

“Some spectators think they can use false vaccination certificates to access the stadium,” states Yap Boum, an epidemiologist and head of Yaounde’s Medecins Sans Frontieres (Physicians Without Borders) research study centre.

“But devices with the health pass and the QR code are sufficiently robust to avoid it.”


Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.