African leaders attending a summit in Germany renewed calls for Covid-19 vaccine patent waivers, saying the decision would allow countries access to affordable jabs.
Africa has administered the least vaccines of any continent while some richer countries have inoculated nearly their entire adult populations.
African countries have mostly relied on multilateral and bi-lateral donations. Activists have called the inequity vaccine apartheid.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa called the unequal access to vaccine ‘not fair’.
“We expressed our disappointment, we expressed our unhappiness, and said that it’s not fair that Africa has only vaccinated only 2% of the entire population of the 1.3 billion population and yet, the more developed countries in the north have vaccinated up to 60%,” Rampahosa said
German Chancellor Angela Merkel who has rejected calls to waive vaccines patents said it was a ‘dramatic injustice’ that Africa’s vaccination rates remained low.
“The availability as well as the production of the vaccines is linked to the economic wellbeing of the African co ntinent and when we see today that we have vaccinated more than 60% of our population and that it is 2% in Africa, it is of course a dramatic injustice which we which we need to overcome, we talked about that honestly today,” she said.
On Friday, German laboratory BioNTech announced that it was aiming to set up vaccine production centres in Rwanda and Senegal next year.