Public health lawyer Safura Abdool Karim says pharmaceutical companies that are manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines are determined to protect their prices despite knowing that third world countries are struggling to get them. Some vaccine manufacturers are accused of bullying poor countries during negotiations to acquire vaccines.
The United Kingdom-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism says the companies’ demands include requesting the countries to put sovereign assets as collateral for payments. This has been causing unnecessarily long delays in reaching deals and in some cases a total failure to reach agreements.
Karim explains why pricing is such a bone of contention.
“Pricing is the biggest thing that they have been trying to protect because as soon as countries know how much other countries have paid, it gives them more power to negotiate lower prices. But there have been certain times that countries are made to keep secrets or sometimes the kind of collateral they had to give out. Those things will become clearer as government starts to implement, for example, the compensation fund.”
Video: Africa CDC addresses Africa’s lack of vaccine manufacturing capacity
Vaccine manufacturing in Africa
The African Union (AU) and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) launched Partnerships for African Vaccine Manufacturing (PAVM) and have signed two Memorandums of Understanding.
Africa’s vaccine manufacturing for health security:
The continental vision for vaccine manufacturing aims to ensure Africa has timely access to vaccines to protect public health security, by establishing a sustainable vaccine development and manufacturing ecosystem in Africa and the proposed ambition to manufacture 60% of Africa’s routine immunisation needs on the continent by 2040, aligned with the call for a New Public Health Order.
Speaking at the summit, Co-Chairperson of the Africa Union Africa Vaccine Delivery Alliance for COVID-19, Dr Ayoade Alakija said, “Africa must rise and Africa must take charge of her own destiny when it comes to vaccines. We need to begin to produce our own vaccines.”