President Kagame says COVID-19 vaccine will be key to economic recovery

By Elina Jonas Ruzindaza
On 11 September 2020 at 06:52

President Paul Kagame has pointed out that the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine is the basis of hope of economic recovery and the return of all people to work, so once it is found should be shared equally, keeping in mind those who need the most attention than others.

The president made the remarks on Thursday at a virtual conference on Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, as a partnership between countries and international organizations aimed at accelerating the balanced distribution of COVID-19 measuring instruments, drugs, and ’vaccine.

President Kagame described ACT-Accelerator as one of the most important programs in the world today and thanked the agencies, including the World Health Organization, WHO, and the European Commission, which support the pillar on which this program is built.

He said that Rwanda and Africa are coping with the Coronavirus pandemic, saying that success or failure is based on building infrastructure that can help in sustainably tackling health problems.

He stressed that Rwanda is ready to cooperate with other countries so that this program can produce as much as it needs.

As various companies continue to search for Coronavirus vaccines, the process recently hit a snag as, during the final trial by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford in the UK, it was announced that it was put to a standstill after one of its test-takers in the UK got harmed by the concoction.

AstraZeneca said the suspension was "normal" in the event of a "rare illness", and that a special analysis was needed to ensure a safe and secure vaccine.

The Chairman of the African Union, also President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, told the ACT Accelerator at the meeting that since the launch of the program in April this year it has been productive, and there are many expectations for the future.

He said it is important for Africa to participate in the Coronavirus vaccines being developed today.

"As long as one is still exposed to Coronavirus in the world, no matter how far we are, we are all at risk of re-infection with COVID-19. That is why we should strive to ensure that everyone is vaccinated and it reaches everywhere at once."

Ramaphosa said countries should use existing infrastructure, conduct research that leads to a reliable and efficient vaccine, and the participating agencies are facilitated so that they are at least free from the risk of vaccination losses.

"We need to encourage people to take part in various vaccination trials," he said.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that while people are expecting more from the COVID-19 vaccine, once it’s available should be treated as public property, available to all at a low cost, "because COVID-19 does not care about boundaries."

He called on countries to increase funding for the program. In the beginning, $ 3 billion was invested, but now needs at least $ 35 billion to expand, including $ 15 billion over the next three months.

The program launched in April 2020, brings together governments, scientists, businessmen, NGOs, philanthropists, and international health organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CEPI, FIND, Gavi, Global Fund, Unitaid, Wellcome, WHO, World Bank and Global Financing Facility.

It is the agencies that have put together efforts to find a way to stop the COVID-19 pandemic, through support for the functioning and distribution of equal measures for the testing, treatment and prevention of the pandemic.

WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Ramaphosa said it is important for Africa to participate in the Coronavirus vaccines being developed today
The Minister of Health, Dr Daniel Ngamije and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Vincent Biruta, attended the meeting
President Kagame described ACT-Accelerator as one of the most important programs in the world today
The meeting was held electronically due to the Covid-19 pandemic