African Union Chair Cyril Ramaphosa to discuss continent’s role in COVID-19 vaccine development and access

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African Union Chair and President of the Republic of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, will on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, address the opening session of the AU and Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) virtual conference on Africa’s Leadership role in COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Access.

The conference will be hosted by the AU Commission from June 24 to June 25, 2020.

The conference will discuss the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa and the development and equitable access to vaccines as part of the COVID-19 Joint Continental Strategy to limit transmission, reduce deaths and limit harm.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has serious health, security and economic impact for the continent. Vaccines are a potent public health tool and Africa needs to actively engage in the development, clinical trial, and defining of issues related to access.

On February 22, 2020, Africa developed a COVID-19 Joint Continental Strategy underpinned by the need to coordinate, cooperate, collaborate and communicate.

The expected participants for this two-day conference include the AUC Chair, the AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, the Africa CDC, the World Health Organisation (WHO), policymakers from member states, health professionals, business leaders, civil society and community leaders, researchers, and vaccine manufacturers.

The expected outcome of the conference is a framework for Africa’s leadership in the development and access of COVID-19 vaccines which will help complement the WHO’s Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator initiative.

The conference is expected to formulate a road map with milestones for Africa’s contribution to the development and evaluation of a safe and effective candidate vaccines for COVID-19 in a timely manner; the identification of barriers and possible solutions to enable access and equity to any potentially available effective COVID-19 vaccines in Africa, and the development of strategies for community engagement to ensure uptake of any potential effective COVID-19 vaccines.

This demonstration of collaboration will help position Africa to better engage with stakeholders to ensure equitable access development and testing of COVID-19 vaccines for its citizens.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the opening session of the conference at 13:00 CAT, on Wednesday, 24 June 2020.

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