Ramaphosa again calls on rich G7 countries to support Covid-19 vaccine patent waiver

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  • President Cyril Ramaphosa reiterated his call to the world's richest countries to support a vaccine patent waiver.
  • Ramaphosa said lack of action on patents and supply of Covid-19 medication would result in more loss of lives.
  • He said the Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator, a global collaboration to ensure equal access to vaccines, has so far supported more than 70 countries.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday called on members of the G7 to actively support temporary patent waiver for vaccines to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Speaking at the summit held in the UK over the weekend, Ramaphosa said inaction would cost lives.

"We call on all G7 members to support the waiver and engage in negotiations that will result in a balanced outcome that massively and rapidly expands production in Africa across the world. The negotiations must be concluded soon because the cost of inaction is measured in people's lives.

"If the world is to emerge from this grave crisis, it is essential that we work together to mobilise and direct resources to those countries in the greatest need – and that we do so now." 

He said, since its formation a year ago, the Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator, a global collaboration to ensure equal access to vaccines, had helped more than 70 countries to expand laboratory infrastructure for testing and delivered millions of rapid diagnostic tests.

It also sped up development and production of vaccines, delivered more than 69 million doses since February 2021 and procured PPE valued at more than $500 million.

Ramaphosa said the ACT-Accelerator had the potential to change the impact of Covid-19, but only if all countries contributed their fair share to close the $16.8 billion funding gap for this year.

"If all G7 countries met their fair share target, this initiative would be two-thirds funded – and it would be 90% funded if all G20 countries made their fair share contributions.

"If we are to save lives and end the pandemic, we need to expand and diversify manufacturing and get medical products to treat, combat and prevent the pandemic to as many people as quickly as possible," he said.

Ramaphosa was invited by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to attend the summit, who said the South African president played a "key role" in leading Africa's response to Covid-19.

The president also held separate meetings with other leaders, including US President Joe Biden.

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