South Africa has called on the great powers “to make available the excess doses ordered and hoarded” of anti-Covid-19 vaccines.
Echoing the grieving of the WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO) over the hoarding of vaccines by the richest countries, the South African president, who will pay 2.5 times more than the EU, banged his fist on the table.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is firing red bullets on rich countries, whose “nationalism” he denounces on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus. Developed countries “monopolize” anti-Covid-19 vaccines, warned the head of state at the world economic summit in Davos.
“Today, the rich countries around the world are keeping these vaccines and we are telling them, ‘Release the surplus vaccines that you have ordered and hoarded,” said Cyril Ramaphosa.
Poor countries are sidelined by those who can afford “up to four times what their people need,” he added.
This call echoes repeated warnings from the World Health Organization (WHO) against “vaccine nationalism”. The director of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, called on the rich countries not to “cut the line” and to make their excess doses available to poor countries through the Covax mechanism, for equitable access to vaccines. This WHO device should make it possible to vaccinate 10% of the population of the African continent during the year.
The director-general of the WHO, similarly, vaccine nationalism, underlines Thédros Adhanom Ghrebreysus, will cost up to 9200 billion dollars to the world economy. The Ethiopian therefore calls for vaccine equity.
Officially the most affected country on the continent, South Africa will pay for its first vaccines, acquired through direct negotiations between the government and the AstraZeneca laboratory, 2.5 times more expensive than the countries of the European Union. The EU recently explained that it had financially supported the development of this vaccine from the start, even before being guaranteed that it would be effective.
But according to Ramaphosa, who himself launched the initiative when he was AU president, it has so far only enjoyed “marginal success.”
Other vaccines are also to be supplied through the African Union (AU), which has pledged to provide 270 million doses to countries on the continent.
Relatively spared by the first wave of the pandemic, most African countries are now suffering from a second more virulent wave.
The appearance of new variants of the virus, including the one discovered in South Africa and deemed to be more contagious, also accelerated the rush for vaccines. According to estimates, Africa will need 1.5 billion vaccines to immunize 60% of its 1.3 billion inhabitants, at a cost which varies between 5.8 and 8.2 billion euros.