The African Union (AU) Commission says it is paying attention to fears that wealthy countries may hoard Coronavirus (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 to poorer countries thereby denying their citizens access to life-saving vaccines,” Pandor said.
Pandor noted countries might use intellectual property rights to limit access to the vaccines by emerging nations, saying the commission and the Centres for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) were “seeking ways of ensuring all countries have access.”
With some countries battling second waves of the virus, Pandor said working together was a better option at tackling the pandemic.
“Defeating this virus still requires countries to collaborate with each other and to 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.
Pandor added that 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” which was intended to ensure vaccines were available to all citizens in Africa.
South Africa is the current rotating chair of the AU.