South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday (May 12) called on international organizations supporting COVID-19 vaccination to start sourcing vaccines made in Africa, as a South African group said it was at risk of put an end to their production due to a lack of orders.

“International agencies that have received a lot of money for the purchase and supply of vaccines for developing countries do not buy vaccines manufactured by African pharmaceutical companies, even for vaccines that are intended for African countries”, Mr. Ramaphosa lamented during a virtual global summit on Covid-19. “This, ladies and gentlemen, must change,” he said in a speech at the second international Covid-19 summit chaired by US President Joe Biden.

At the beginning of May, the South African pharmaceutical giant Aspen, which embarked on the production and marketing of anti-Covid-19 vaccines in South Africa after an agreement with the American Johnson

South Africa and India have led a battle for equal access to vaccines and a suspension of intellectual property rights to allow the local manufacture of doses at lower cost. Aspen had signed a November 2021 deal with Johnson

A vaccination rate of only 15.8%

Africa, with a population of 1.3 billion, is the region with the lowest immunity to Covid-19 in the world with a vaccination rate of only 15.8%. First in lack of doses, the continent is also faced with vaccine skepticism on the part of the population. The WHO said on Thursday that South Africa was currently recording a surge in cases of contamination, with an increase of 32% this week compared to the previous week.

“International agencies as well as humanitarian organizations need to source vaccines from African manufacturers so that development capacity on the continent is retained,” Ramaphosa said. “Vaccines produced in Africa must be obtained in Africa and for the people in Africa. This is vital for the health security of the continent today and tomorrow,” he concluded.