Ramaphosa welcomes US vaccines to developing countries

2021-Sep-23   08:34

Ramaphosa welcomes US vaccines to developing countries
President Cyril Ramaphosa has welcomed the 500 million vaccine doses that the United States of America is donating to poor countries.
Source: Silver Sibiya/Newsnote

- Silver Sibiya

President Cyril Ramaphosa has welcomed the 500 million vaccine doses that the United States of America is donating to poor countries.

He was speaking during a virtual global COVID-19 summit where he was invited by US President, Joe Biden. The summit was held under the theme “Ending the Pandemic and Building Better Health Security to Prepare for the Next”.

“South Africa is encouraged that the goals and targets for ending the pandemic are broadly aligned with the key components of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator. However, we must take current realities into account,” said Ramaphosa.

He said rich countries have committed to vaccinate 70% of the world’s population.

“We have committed to vaccinating at least 70% of the world’s population by next year, but we are now at the end of September and have not reached the 10 percent target we set ourselves in May.

The gulf is widening between better-resourced nations who are buying up and even hoarding vaccines, and developing countries who are struggling.

"Of the around 6 billion vaccine doses administered worldwide, only 2 percent of these have been administered in Africa, a continent of more than 1,2 billion people. This is unjust and immoral,” the South African president said.

He called for developing countries to be given the intellectual property to manufacture their own COVID-19 vaccines.

“We welcome the commitment to dose donation and sharing. However we reiterate our position that developing countries should be able to manufacture their own vaccines as well as to procure them directly," said Ramaphosa.

US President Biden said his country was providing financing and helping to strengthen manufacturing in South Africa and produce more than 500-million doses of Johnson & Johnson in Africa for Africa in 2022. He said more than 160-million doses had already been shipped to more than 100 countries.

South Africa is part of the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team.

In March this year all African Union member states signed an agreement through AVATT giving the countries access to 220 million doses of the J&J vaccine.

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