(CMR) South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged the world’s wealthiest countries to stop “hoarding” vaccines so poorer nations can also have access.
In remarks delivered at the World Economic Forum’s virtual Davos Agenda event, the African Union chairman said some countries had ordered more supplies of vaccines than they needed and that this was counterproductive to the global recovery effort.
“Ending the pandemic worldwide will require greater collaboration on the rollout of vaccines, ensuring that no country is left behind in this effort,” he said.
Ramaphosa said some wealthy countries had acquired large doses of vaccines from developers and manufacturers, some up to four times what their populations need.
“That was aimed at hoarding these vaccines, and now this is being done to the exclusion of other countries in the world that most need this,” Ramaphosa said.
He called for developed countries to release excess vaccines to be distributed in developing nations.
South Africa has the most cases of the coronavirus in Africa, with more than 1.4 million cases and 41,117 deaths as of Tuesday.
John Nkengasong, Africa CDC Director, said the continent was facing a “very aggressive second wave” of the pandemic, with an average 18% increase in mortality across the 55 African member states last week.
“We as a continent must recognize that vaccines will not be here when we want them, but as such, we need to really focus on the public health measures that we know work,” he said.