Covid vaccine gap,South Africa hopes to bridge the divide

Covid vaccine gap: How South Africa hopes to bridge the divide

With South Africa’s vaccination campaign moving at a snail’s pace, President Cyril Ramaphosa has been forced to tighten lockdown restrictions in a bid to contain a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

On the other side, Joe Biden boasts on his latest tweet that Covid is down. The economy is up. America is on the move again. South Africa has vaccinated less than 2 percent of its population of about 59 million since it started its program in February.

Unfortunately, the President has been forced to order the closure of all schools. Along with it, he issues new guidelines limiting 50 people to attend the funeral, ban the sale of alcohol to ease pressure on hospitals and ban all indoor and outdoor gatherings, including weddings.

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Advisory is also issued to people to work from home where possible. The hospital beds in Gauteng are running out as the number of cases is rising sharply. Moreover, this slow vaccination rollout has left millions of people vulnerable to infection.

At the moment there are only five African countries that are involved, in a limited way, in the productions process of the vaccines. Tunisia and Morocco have companies that can package and label, meanwhile South Africa, Egypt and Senegal can fill and finish. This leaves big pharmaceutical companies to fill and prepare vials for distribution. 

World Trade Organisation (WTO) has been pushed by South Africa and India to waive intellectual property rights for coronavirus vaccines so that they can become more easily available in the developing world.

President Ramaphosa said that his team is tired of waiting in the queue, and they want to be at the front in fighting covid and providing its citizens with vaccines.