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Ramaphosa: Rich countries must release excess vaccines

The president made the remarks on Tuesday during the WEF Davos Dialogues.
President Ramaphosa. Image: Elmond Jiyane, GCIS

As governments across the world have begun mass Covid-19 vaccination programmes, President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged rich nations not to hoard vaccine doses and to release any excess which they may have to poorer countries.

In an address on Tuesday to the virtual World Economic Forum’s Davos Dialogues, Ramaphosa called on rich countries to make the vaccines available to poor countries so because “we are not safe if some countries are vaccinating their people and other countries are not vaccinating.”

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“We all must act together in combating coronavirus because it affects all of us equally and therefore our remedies, our actions to combat it must also be equal and overarching…and not be something that special or certain countries have on their own to the exclusion of others,” he said.

The president and his government have come under heavy criticism for their delay in ordering a suitable Covid-19 vaccine and their difficulty in negotiating a fair price. It has to do this while the country battles through the second wave of the pandemic and economic restrictions under lockdown level 3 take their toll.

Although the cross-border nature of the coronavirus requires a global response, the reaction to the health pandemic has so far been marred by vaccine nationalism.

Ramaphosa avoided mentioning any specific country but said rich countries have acquired large doses of vaccines from developers and manufacturers of these vaccines adding that, “some even went beyond and acquired up to four times what their population needs.”

“That was aimed at holding these vaccines and now this is being done to the exclusion of other countries in the world,” he said.

Through a task team set up by the African Union, Africa has secured a provisional 270 million doses of the vaccine which comes directly through vaccine manufacturers. This is in addition to the 600 million doses that are expected from the COVAX initiative, Ramaphosa said.

Read: SA to go with Covax vaccine scheme for 10% of population

‘Vaccine nationalism’

“We are deeply concerned about the problem of ‘vaccine nationalism’, which, unless addressed, will endanger the recovery of all countries. Ending the pandemic worldwide will require greater collaboration on the roll out of vaccines, ensuring that no country is left behind in this effort,” he said.

Advanced economies have a clear incentive to ensure equitable access to the vaccine, according to a new study published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

Vaccine nationalism is set to cost the global economy $9.2 trillion in 2020.

Even in a more optimistic scenario, where developing countries are able to vaccinate half of their populations by the end of the year, total global costs would only go down to US$ 4.4 trillion — 53% of which would be borne by advanced economies, amounting to US$2.4 trillion in lost GDP, the study found.

Countries have poured millions of dollars into the developing, distribution and administration of vaccines from various manufacturers since they were first made available late last year. Roughly 68 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in 56 countries.

African countries have however lagged behind in the global campaign to vaccinate populations and not a single dose of the vaccine has yet been administered on the continent.

As of Monday, there have been 98 794 942 confirmed cases of Covid-19 worldwide, including 2 124 193 deaths, according to the World Health Organisation. Over 2.4 million of those cases have been reported in Africa, with South Africa accounting for the bulk at over 1.4 million cases and 41 117 deaths.

SA’s plans

South Africa plans to inoculate two-thirds of the population by the end of 2021. In a statement earlier this month, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said an initial 1.5 million doses will come from India’s Serum Institute. South Africa has also struck deals with AstraZeneca Plc and the University of Oxford for the vaccines.

In December, South Africa through the Solidarity Fund made the down payment of  of $19.2 million (R283 million) to secure the country’s participation in the Covax vaccine programme. This  represents 15% of the total cost of securing access to vaccines for 10% (roughly six million) of the population.

Although the government has made no announcement where the rest of the funds required for the vaccines will be found, National Treasury is reportedly considering hiking taxes to make up for the shortfall. Other options include widening the budget deficit and re-prioritising government spending.

Read: South Africa Treasury reportedly considers tax hike to fund vaccines

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COMMENTS   42

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Why would anyone wanna support this sick government?

Stop blaming rich countries for the ANC’s inabilities

There are poorer countries than ours who have been more pro active

Perhaps your Government should stop thinking about how your comrades are going to become wealthy through this and start focusing on the well being of us the people

This is so typical a response from a Government who does not possess the ability to do things right the first time all the time

Who’s fault is it that corruption is rife in SA, a GDP that disappears every half decade?

Blame the rich country’s for load shedding and bankrupt parastatals! Why not blame them for our recent downgrade to junk!

Arrogance is pandemic within the ANC which brings about a sheer lack of competence and reduces wisdom, of which the have none

Get real ANC, the people are getting tired of you

I think your critic is clouded by the hatred of the ANC and to be honest, I am one of those that hate the current ANC leadership. However, I never let my hatred take over my patriotism: I am an African and would always seek interest for Africans irrespective of my ANC dislike. President Ramaphosa is correct, many Western Nations shall do whatever they can to get more doses for their Nations and justifiable so. Since doses are produced by their companies like Moderna, Pfizer:…Now as Africans this is the chance to finally used our leverage and say, you want African resources, well this is how things should happen from now forward. Let us use our natural resources in-exchange of whatever we want from offshores markets.

…..kickbacks for both parties????

yip…time for China,Russia,India,Dubai,UAE… ( the richest of the rich ) to cough up. Thank you CR to the begging for us. We know it is hard and humiliating but much appreciated.

…hopefully the ‘victim card’ may work in SA’ favour, since ‘leading’ Western nations’ citizens are so sympathetic towards the Black Lives Matter.

Let’s hope the (guilty) western countries gives so much free money to the SA Govt, that it will balance the national debt, and reduce the tax burden on taxpayers 😉

I’m allowed to dream…

So now you expect others that were not asleep at the wheel to sort your problem out???

That is such a “continental” approach.

TSK!!!!

Yes, the “Settlers” will come and save the day, again. Best Cyril be on his best behavior he’s going to ask for more than just vaccines soon enough.

It truly is not the “rich” countries’ fault that our government has been asleep at the wheel regarding this pandemic and regarding the procurement of vaccines.

Dear Mr. President, this is how free enterprise work. YOU and YOUR government did not buy any vaccines and now that the available batches has been bought by countries who acted proactively now you want them to share?

LOL, the useless ANC did nothing, and now it’s “rich countries”?

Between this and the SARS old new Flash browser, today’s Daily Stupid award will have to be shared.

And out comes the begging bowl again.
Not as a result of lack of resources but as a result of poor planning and strategies, self preservation (read cANCer), do not care attitude towards the population, corruption long before, during and also after the COVID crisis, lack of action against corruption, doing nothing when corruption was blatantly obvious and in the end pleading poverty.
Clearly the fault of WMC and their cronies.

Please, please don’t tell me SARS has changed efiling again. Have to submit P2 in a few weeks and hope it won’t be a new struggle!!

“We all must act together in combating coronavirus because it affects all of us equally and therefore our remedies, our actions to combat it must also be equal and overarching…and not be something that special or certain countries have on their own to the exclusion of others,” he said.

The president at his ANC conference mentioned that he will create jobs only for one race group. The president should apply the above principles to Job Creation in South Africa and maybe we will start growing as a country!

So, Mr President, it is morally acceptable for your socialist country to “hoard” privileges for politically connected militant labour unions and racially-privileged BEE contracts and to reserve it for some citizens and not for others, but it is not morally acceptable for capitalist countries to buy a vaccine and keep it for their own citizens? It is called property rights Mr President, a concept you as a communalist do not understand or respect.

That is why you don’t have any vaccines to distribute Mr President. That is also why your citizens do not have the means to buy their own vaccines.

Onderstepoort was one of the best vaccine laboratories in the world before the ANC incompetence and myopic populism and infringement on property rights destroyed this national asset. We had the expertise and the hardware to produce our own covid vaccines. Now our president has to go around like a beggar, insulting capitalist countries by calling them hoarders, to motivate them to dig him out of the hole he has dug for himself.

Destruction of any national asset is not the issue at all. It’s quite acceptable as long as whatever it is is ‘transformed’. That is the main goal of the NDR. Cut and dry.

One day the president might hopefully understand that frog boiling does not equate to run a country.

He will never understand simply because he is incapable of any thought.

Dear Moneyweb Editor banned my comment as I dared to suggest that if the roles were reversed…the ANC would look after Europe/Israel and the USA!

Censorship; its definition “cancel culture”, like hyphae, has become so persuasive to silence ungreeable commentary. It propagates first from institutions of education

Democracy is gone when it spawns society and requires generations to reverse it

If the roles were reversed we can safely say the vaccine would be distributed based on race. They (ANC) know no other way.

I am also very elated to have just noted on eTV need that traditional healers are now regarded as essential frontline workers and will be in live to be given the vaccine at the same time as other health workers.

“Vaccine nationalism is set to cost the global economy $9.2 trillion in 2020.”

Are we in a time warp?

Yeah, sure Cyril, so after you have taken from them you can call them racist Colonialist pigs again, blaming them for all the ANC’s self-inflicted woes!!!??

It used to be that it was every so often that one thought they had heard and seen it all, but with this lot, it is now a daily occurrence!

It is actually sad/shameful that a president should think his country is “poor/inferior” to other countries….you speak for yourself, your government and your supporters!

You and the ANC are incompetent and screwed up, period. Dont look to shift the blame Cyril – You only mad you cant appease your mates with their trademark kickbacks.

The absolute hypocrisy of this government!! For months last year SA would not release COVID19-related PPE, sanitizers or Medication (or allow it to transit through SA) now crying because they must be treated equitably after being so undeniably useless. I have lost all respect for this communist.

Some of the countries with excess orders (they hedged across multiple candidate drugs months ago) have said they will pass on. Canada and UAE comes to mind. Remember also that they do not HAVE the excess, it is on order. Production is the bottleneck.

Thing is : we are defined middle-income so that excess is not coming to us.

Bottom line is it will take two years to vaccinate ⅔ of the world if all the current good vaccines produce at full tilt.

BUT : The world owes health workers first vaccinating all of them in all countries before other categories!!!

Make this country rich Cyril

SA could have been rich too had the ANC not stolen all the money and sold us out to the Gupta clan.

Meanwhile, the SANDF spent R229 million on unregistered COVID-19 medicine from Cuba, and then lost 40% of the consignment because they forgot that the cooling rooms’ doors were open, and the Gauteng Department of Education spent R431-million in three months on unnecessary ‘deep cleaning’ and ‘decontamination’ of schools.

And now it’s all someone else’s fault? This cabal of losers and thieves has bankrupted the economy and we as a country have sunk to the lowest ranks of international status.

doing what they do well…. blame everyone

This from a ruling party that is using COVID-19 to viciously discriminate against non-Black-owned businesses in the tourism industry. TRULY SHAMEFUL, TRULY DISGUSTING.

Wondering if Mr President reads the comment section on moneyweb.co.za

I note all the comments but I also note Cyril didn’t mention SA at all.

Surely it would be humane for a country like the USA to donate vaccine to a country like India?

“…rich countries MUST…” this or that.

The world’s wealthy is under NO obligation.

With words like these from the president, wealthy nations ignore nations continuously playing the victim card.

I heard this joke before.

Considering that the news has just come out that the Gauteng provincial government wasted more than 400 million Rand on “santisation” of schools, often by companies that have no expertise in that field, there is absolutely no reason for rich countries to subsidise this wastage.

There’s a difference between a poor country and a relatively wealthy country that is being run into the ground by incompetent looters. South Africa is the latter.

The same guy chastising global powers for supporting their own first, is making emergency funds available to yet to exist transformation businesses instead of those buckling under his ridiculous policies like the protracted beach ban. So he can be tribalisit and racist, but global powers mustn’t be nationalist now

Looking for handouts as usual after blowing or stealing all of our public funds. Now they plead poverty and start whining about ‘rich’ countries. Pathetic!

This is embarrassing.

End of comments.

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