Ramaphosa: Vaccines must be available to all, not just highest bidders

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has, in his latest letter, called on South Africans and civil society organisations to support the country’s proposal to the World Trade Organization (WTO) for wider access to vaccines.

The Citizen reports, this after South Africa submitted a proposal to the WTO for a temporary waiver of certain aspects of TRIPS to facilitate wider access to technologies needed to produce vaccines and medicines.

This in a bid to rapidly scale up local production to ensure wider access to affordable and effective vaccines.

Currently, 55% of the existing vaccine manufacturing capacity is located in East Asia, 40% in Europe and North America, and less than 5% in Africa and South America.

In the case of developing countries, much of this capacity is under-utilised.

“The enforcement of intellectual property rights is critical to research and development and innovation in the quest for human progress. This is an unprecedented situation. It requires that all intellectual property, knowledge, technology and data related to Covid-19 health technologies be put at the disposal of all,” said Ramaphosa.

“If we as the international community are truly committed to human rights and the values of equality and non-discrimination, vaccines should be viewed as a global public good.”

The President’s argument is that vaccines should be made available to all countries, not just the highest bidders.

The Citizen