The African Union Commission (AUC) says it is paying attention to fears that wealthy countries may hoard COVID-19 vaccine stocks, South African International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor said.
Pandor said this while briefing the media on international developments in Pretoria.
“`Vaccine Nationalism’ is a very real threat, as it will create supply problems for poorer countries; thereby denying their citizens access to life-saving vaccines,” he said.
Pandor noted countries might use intellectual property rights to limit access to the vaccines by emerging nations, saying that AUC and the Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) were “seeking ways of ensuring all countries have access.”
With some countries were battling second waves of the virus, Pandor said that working together was a better option at tackling the pandemic.
“Defeating this virus still requires countries to collaborate with each other and work with multilateral institutions to ensure that all people access the required health and medical interventions and that they benefit from economic and social measures,” she noted.
“The AU has also developed a vaccine strategy for the continent, and established a COVID-19 African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), in support of the Africa Vaccine,” she said,
Pandor added that the measures were intended to ensure the availability of vaccines to all citizens in Africa.
South Africa is the current rotating chair of the AU.