At the United Nations General Assembly, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa repeated his call for waiving intellectual property rights on vaccines. He also criticized wealthy nations for hoarding vaccines.

President Cyril Ramaphosa: “It is an indictment on humanity that more than 82% of the world’s vaccine doses have been acquired by wealthy countries, while less than 1% has gone to low-income countries. Unless we address this as a matter of urgency, the pandemic will last much longer, and new mutations of the virus will emerge and spread. South Africa reaffirms its call for fair and equitable distribution of vaccines.”

Meanwhile, Bolivian President Luis Arce said access to vaccines should be considered a human right.

President Luis Arce: “Capitalism has commodified all aspects of social life, and health is not the exception. Medical science should be at the service of humanity without any sort of geographical, political, social or nationality discrimination. The access to the vaccine must be considered as a human right.”

The United Nations General Assembly is occurring as COVID cases continue to surge in parts of the world. Earlier today, South Korea reported over 2,400 new COVID cases — its highest daily tally since the start of the pandemic. In Yemen, Oxfam is warning COVID deaths have increased fivefold in the past month. Fewer than 1% of Yemen’s population is vaccinated.

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