“Stop hoarding Covid vaccines,” South African President tells rich nations

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday urged wealthy countries not to hoard surplus doses of Covid-19 vaccine, saying the world needed to come together to fight the pandemic.

South Africa has recorded nearly half the coronavirus deaths in Africa, and the continent as a whole is struggling to secure sufficient vaccines to start countrywide inoculation programmes for its 1.3 billion people.

“We need those who have hoarded the vaccines to release the vaccines so that other countries can have them,” Ramaphosa told a virtual meeting of the World Economic Forum.

“The rich countries of the world went out and acquired large doses. … Some countries even acquired up to four times what their population needs … to the exclusion of other countries.”

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus last week described this unequal access as a “catastrophic moral failure”, urging countries and manufacturers to spread doses more fairly around the world.

South Africa has recorded more than 1.4 million Covid-19 cases and 41,000 deaths, out of more than 3.4 million cases and 86,000 deaths continent-wide.

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Olajumoke Adeleke

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