Covid vaccine (file photo) Photograph:( Reuters )
The World Health Organization, French President Emmanuel Macron and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa jointly held a media briefing on Monday
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday announced that WHO is set to establish its first Covid mRNA vaccine 'technology transfer hub’ in the country.
The World Health Organization, French President Emmanuel Macron and President Ramaphosa jointly held a media briefing on Monday.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the full extent of the vaccine gap between developed and developing economies, and how that gap can severely undermine global health security. This landmark initiative is a major advancement in the international effort to develop vaccines and manufacturing capacity that will put Africa on a path to self-determination,” Ramaphosa said.
“South Africa welcomes the opportunity to host a vaccine technology transfer hub and to build on the capacity and expertise that already exists on the continent to contribute to this effort,” he added.
"The technology transfer hub will be located in South Africa and this initiative will not just benefit South Africa, but working together with the Africa CDC and the WHO, we will make sure that it benefits the entire African continent," Ramaphosa said.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who visited South Africa in May end, had also committed supporting efforts in Africa to scale up local manufacturing capacity.
“Today is a great day for Africa. It is also a great day for all those who work towards a more equitable access to health products. I am proud of Biovac and our South African partners to have been selected by WHO as France has been supporting them for years,” French President Emmanuel Macron said.
This announcement comes at a time when South Africa and India have been at the forefront of a campaign at the World Trade Organisation to waive intellectual property rights for vaccine manufacturing.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that relying on a few companies to supply global public goods is limiting and dangerous. To boost manufacturing, WHO has continued to call for the sharing of know-how, technology & licenses, & the waiving of intellectual property rights,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-General of the WHO said.
Currently, South Africa is seeing a huge surge in COVID-19 cases as the country is battling third wave. So far, the country has only vaccinated 1% of its population.