Contributing to the high-level France-SA dialogue on Enhancing Vaccine Production and Manufacturing Capacity in Africa
On 28th May CAPRISA’s Associate Scientific Director, Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim, addressed a distinguished audience at a high-level dialogue on the future of vaccines in Africa led by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and French President Emmanuel Macron hosted at the University of Pretoria’s flagship Future Africa Institute and campus.
In her address, Abdool Karim highlighted the stark disparities in the inequitable access to vaccines for poorer nations adding that 68% of the 1.8 billion vaccine doses administered were in the top 6 countries that had developed vaccines or manufactured vaccines. By comparison, she said, “the bottom 124 countries had received less than 5% of all the vaccine doses in the world with 28 million vaccine doses administered in Africa and with 8 countries yet to receive their first Covid-19 vaccines.” She added that “While there are now enough vaccines to provide a dose to 20% of the world’s population, Africa only had “enough doses for 2% of its population. This deplorable 10-fold inequity in vaccine availability should never be allowed to occur again.”
Despite 6 vaccines being tested in vaccine trials in African countries, Africa had to join the back of the queue for vaccines. Abdool Karim outlined six lessons to be drawn from countries that secured vaccines through local manufacturing: “firstly, the critical importance of government leadership and political commitment; secondly, long-term investments in science and technology, especially in vaccine manufacturing infrastructure and facilities; thirdly, the value of public-private partnerships; fourthly, access to IP such as the voluntary licence obtained by the Serum Institute of India for Covishield; fifthly, long-term investments in training scientists, technicians and engineers for the high-level technical expertise required to run vaccine manufacturing facilities; and sixthly, collaborations across countries and continents like the one we are witnessing today are essential,” she said. “Africa’s self-reliance in vaccines is a laudable dream – one that will take some time but importantly bring security of vaccine supply in the future.” she concluded.
You can watch the high-level meeting here: https://youtu.be/JK76ENzNnIU
PHOTO: Prof Quarraisha Abdool Karim (at the podium); Seated (R-L): Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Dr Blade Nzimande; French President H.E. Emmanuel Macron; South African President H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa and UP Vice-Chancellor Professor Tawana Kupe. (Photo credit - University of Pretoria)