SA praised for collaboration with EU for global vaccine equity

European Union Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides. Picture: Supplied

European Union Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 30, 2023


Cape Town - South Africa has been praised for its collaboration with the EU for global vaccine equity and taking a pioneering approach to vaccine manufacturing on the African continent.

The sentiments were shared by a delegation of the Team Europe Initiative (TEI) on Manufacturing and Access to Vaccines, Medicines and Health Technologies (MAV+) at the Westin Hotel on Saturday.

The objective of the MAV+ is to increase equitable access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential vaccines, medicines and health technologies for Africans.

EU ambassador to South Africa Sandra Kramer said they had committed to boosting local manufacturing capacities and to strengthening the pharmaceutical systems in South Africa.

“We saw during the Covid-19 pandemic that Africa as a whole was largely dependent on vaccines being brought in … and that is an untenable situation.”

European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides said they worked closely with the European ambassador

“We signed a R50.5 million grant to support the expansion of Biovac’s multi-vaccine manufacturing capacity. But co-operation needs to go beyond financial support.

“South Africa has played a key role from day one of this pandemic in global co-operation in vaccine equity,” Kyriakides said.

The delegation undertook a visit to the World Health Organization mRNa Hub, Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines, of which the EU contributed €40 million to its establishment, and the Biovac Institute.

South Africa’s Deputy Health Minister Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, said: “We are unlikely to be at the back of the queue now in the event we have another pandemic.”

On Friday, International Relations and Co-operation Minister Naledi Pandor co-chaired the 15th SA-EU ministerial political dialogue with the EU high representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, in Pretoria.