Cyril Ramaphosa - OkayAfrica

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is inoculated with a Covid-19 vaccine shot at the Khayelitsha Hospital in Cape Town on February 17, 2021.

Photo by GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images.

South African President Emphasises that 'Vaccine Apartheid' Must End

President Cyril Ramaphosa has, once again, called on developed nations to not exclude poorer countries from accessing COVID-19 vaccines.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged developed nations not to exclude poorer nations across the world from accessing COVID-19 vaccines. Ramaphosa was recently speaking at an independent panel for pandemic preparedness and response roundtable. He stressed that the supply of vaccines is one that should be viewed as a matter of equality because those who are less fortunate are at greater risk of losing their lives. Previously, he has also described the inequality in the distribution of vaccines as a "vaccine apartheid".

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"We know that it is the virus that causes the disease, but it is human action, but also human inaction that causes the pandemic," said Ramaphosa. He added that, "A vital lesson from [the] coronavirus pandemic is the necessity for collective leadership, collaboration, solidarity, as well as innovation among the countries of the world," reports Kaya FM. The head of state has also stressed the importance of Africa having the capacity to manufacture its own vaccines, as opposed to being reliant on developed countries for a share of their supplies. As it stands, only 2 percent of the world's vaccine rollout has been administered in Africa, with the slow pace being attributed to logistical challenges, a lack of financing and insufficient supplies.

South Africa is the worst-hit country on the continent with 1.59 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, and over 54 000 deaths to date. The phased rollout of vaccines, which has been slower than that of neighbouring countries, has seen at least 300 000 health professionals vaccinated with citizens over the age of 60 set to be vaccinated next.

Incidentally, the G7, which is inclusive of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, has recently been engaged in talks as political pressures mount for these countries to relax intellectual property rights and share their stockpiles of the vaccines with poorer nations.