South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday told rich countries that their current conduct of practicing coronavirus “vaccine nationalism” was unacceptable, and would backfire if citizens from poor countries who desperately need the vaccines are left unprotected from the disease which has killed over two million people worldwide.The president said this when he addressed a virtual State of the World Address at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Davos Dialogues from his office in Pretoria.
“The rich countries of the world went out and acquired large doses of vaccines from developers and manufacturers, and some countries have even gone beyond and acquired four times what their population needs,” he said.
This, he warned, was not acceptable conduct which in the end would negatively affect the others in spite of their being vaccinated.
Ramaphosa reminded rich nations that were vaccinating their citizens, that there were millions of others from poor countries who had not secured any vaccines due to their lack of financial muscle, thereby leaving them vulnerable.
According to the President, this was done to the exclusion of countries in the world that also needed the lifesaving Covid-19 vaccine.
“All of us are not safe if some countries are vaccinating their people, and some countries are not vaccinating,” the president said.
As a result, the rich countries are hoarding the vaccines at the expense of the poor ones, a conduct which was unacceptable and in the long run would prove to have negative consequences.
“There’s just no need for a (rich) country, which perhaps has 40 million people, to acquire 120 million or even 160 million doses, yet the (poor) world needs access to those vaccines,” Ramaphosa said.
“So, we’re saying: release the excess vaccines that you’ve ordered and are hoarding” for use by the needy countries, he added.