Covid vaccine intellectual property waiver is ‘in direct response to an emergency’: Ramaphosa
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa dedicated his weekly letter to the nation on the issue of waiving intellectual property rights to COVID-19 vaccines, saying it was needed right now and in direct response to an emergency.
Ramaphosa’s message reflects his country’s hope that the waiver, initially proposed by South Africa and India, can still happen despite opposition from countries like Germany.
Ramaphosa writes that the Biden administration’s support for a waiver gave further impetus to negotiations at the World Trade Organization. He compares the issue of IP vaccine waivers to South Africa’s ultimately successful fight two decades ago to alleviate IPs on life-saving antiretroviral drugs during the HIV / AIDS crisis.
And once again, South Africa is waging a struggle that tests global solidarity, Ramaphosa wrote.
European Union leaders questioned the immediate benefit of a COVID-19 vaccine PI waiver, saying many less developed countries, especially in Africa, lack the capacity to manufacture vaccines even if the waiver is obtained.
Ramaphosa writes that South Africa is one of five African countries with vaccine production capacity and that a waiver would allow them to boost global manufacture of vaccines against COVID-19 and other major diseases .
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