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France to invest in South African production of vaccines to bridge shortfall

By Romain Chanson
Posted on Tuesday, 1 June 2021 18:32

French President Emmanuel Macron congratulates South African President Cyril Ramaphosa after giving a speech at the University of Pretoria Future Africa in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday May 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

Concerns over vaccine inequality in Africa were the focus of the French President Emmanuel Macron's brief meeting with his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa in Pretoria.

When Emmanuel Macron’s plane landed in South Africa, 2,200 vaccine doses from the US firm Johnson & Johnson were tucked away in the hold of the presidential aircraft. The idea was to deliver vaccines directly to French nationals aged 55 and over, owing to concerns that they may not be able to get immunised in the coming months.

The shipment intended for French expatriates serves as a reminder that South Africa’s vaccination drive is lagging dangerously behind that of the West, with only 900,000 vaccines administered thus far in a country of 58 million people.