Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation
The Developing Country Vaccine Manufacturers Network (DCVMN) must work in partnership with governments and position developing countries to deal with emerging pandemics better.
The higher education, science and innovation minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, declared this during an address at the DCVMN 22nd annual general meeting in Cape Town.
The minister pointed out that the gulf is widening between better-resourced nations that are “buying up and even hoarding vaccines and developing countries who are struggling to have access to vaccines”.
“The COVID 19 pandemic has revealed the full extent of the vaccine gap between developed and developing economies and how that gap can severely undermine global health security”, he said.
According to the minister, the COVAX vaccine sharing arrangement is likely to result in less than the proposed two billion doses by the end of 2021 “due to production problems, export bans, and vaccine hoarding”.
The minister declared that developing countries should be able to manufacture their own vaccines as well as procure them directly.
“The announcement of the hosting by South Africa of the mRNA vaccine Technology Transfer Hub through Afrigen and Biovac and our government support of this initiative shows that we are committed ourselves and our fellow developing countries change course from this deadly dependence”, he said.
Meanwhile, in a statement, the portfolio committee on health has noted the decision by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) to not approve Russia’s Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine for use in South Africa.
In a statement, the committee indicated that SAHPRA has “raised concerns about the use of Sputnik V vaccine in South Africa due to the high prevalence of HIV”.
According to SAHPRA, the vaccine may increase the risk of HIV infection among vaccinated males.