Castigating the rich countries that “Monopolize” anti-Covid vaccines, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa warned Tuesday, January 26, during the world economic summit in Davos, against everything “Nationalism” in strategies for acquiring valuable doses.
“The rich countries of the world monopolize these vaccines. We call on them to make available the excess doses ordered and hoarded ”, he said via a video message from Pretoria to the Davos summit, which is taking place in a virtual format this year. Poor countries are sidelined by those who can afford “Up to four times what their population needs”, he added.
This call echoes repeated warnings from the World Health Organization (WHO) against “Vaccine nationalism”. WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on rich countries not to “Cut the line” and make their excess doses available to poor countries through the Covax mechanism, for equitable access to vaccines.
Up to 2.5 times more expensive than in Europe
This WHO device should make it possible to vaccinate 10% of the population of the African continent during the year. 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. But, according to Cyril Ramaphosa, who himself launched the initiative when he was president of the AU, it has so far only known one “Marginal success”.
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.
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 reputed to be more contagious, has also accelerated the rush for vaccines.
It is estimated that Africa will need 1.5 billion vaccines to immunize 60% of its 1.3 billion inhabitants, at a cost that varies between 5.8 and 8.2 billion euros.