African leaders gathered in Germany for a summit renewed their calls for Covid-19 vaccine patent waivers, claiming that the decision would provide countries with more affordable vaccines.
Africa has received the fewest vaccines of any continent, despite the fact that some of the wealthier countries have vaccinated nearly their entire adult population.
The majority of African countries have relied on multilateral and bilateral aid. Activists have dubbed the vaccine’s inequity apartheid. Uneven vaccine access, according to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, is “not fair.”
“We expressed our disappointment, our dissatisfaction, and we said it’s not fair that Africa has only vaccinated 2% of its 1.3 billion population while the more developed countries in the north have vaccinated up to 60%,” Rampahosa said.
The fact that Africa’s vaccination rates remain low is a “dramatic injustice,” according to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has rejected calls to waive vaccine patents.
“The availability and production of vaccines are linked to the economic wellbeing of the African continent, and when we see today that we have vaccinated more than 60% of our population while Africa has only 2%, it is of course a dramatic injustice that we need to overcome,” she said.
BioNTech, a German company, announced on Friday that it plans to open vaccine production centers in Rwanda and Senegal next year.