South Africa and the Kingdom of Norway have been elected by the World Health Organization to co-chair the newly established Facilitation Council of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A).
According to a presidency statement, ACT-A was launched on 24 April 2020 and provided with political and financial support through global pledging events of 4 May and 27 June.
“It has already established a dynamic portfolio of vaccine candidates, launched a global facility to optimise vaccine development and use, and begun rollout of the first proven therapy for severe disease.”
ACT-A is described as an “international collaboration among a diverse representation of global leaders and partners to accelerate the development, production and equitable deployment of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics for COVID-19”.
Speaking at the inaugural meeting of the Council, president Ramaphosa declared that it is “essential that African countries benefit from the vaccines being developed”.
“The clinical testing of the vaccines needs to include African populations to ensure that the vaccines are appropriate for Africans. We cannot achieve universal health coverage when the COVID-19 vaccine is available only to countries that are well resourced in terms of research, manufacturing, distribution and service”, he said.
Ramaphosa emphasized that, in order to avoid a resurgence of COVID-19, it is important to ensure everyone has access to a vaccine at the same time.