President Cyril Ramaphosa has been announced as the co-chair of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator Facilitation Council with Norway’s Prime Minister, Erna Solberg. The council will advise on the work to achieve the rapid development and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

Thursday is the inaugural meeting of the council which includes health ministers from member states.

Ramaphosa says the process of finding the tools to combat the pandemic needs to be fast tracked.

“It is essential that humanity should have a sense that if and when a vaccine is developed, all countries should benefit and not be left behind. Humanity requires that a vaccine should be regarded as a public good to benefit all we cannot achieve universal health coverage if the COVID-19 vaccine is available only to countries that are well resourced in terms of research, manufacturing and service.”

‘COVID-19 Tools Accelerator the global solution we are looking for’

United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres says the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator is the global solution the world is looking for. He says its success it dependent on wise and calculated choices by world leaders.

$3.5 billion has been contributed to ACT so far out of the $31 billion needed for vaccine development and universal healthcare coverage.

Gutteres says the $3.5 billion raised for ACT so far is a drop in the ocean for the goal set.

“But we now need $35 billion more to go from start up to scale up on impacts. There is reemergence in these numbers without the infusion of $15 billion over the next three months beginning immediately. We will lose the window of opportunity to further advance research bring stocks in parallel with licensing and start delivering the diagnostics and countries prepare to optimise the new vaccines when they arrive.”

The WHO meeting on the access to COVID-19 Tools: