Saudi in talks with COVID vaccine makers to supply Yemen, African states – finance minister

FILE PHOTO: Saudi Minister of Finance Mohammed al-Jadaan holds a news conference to announce the country's 2021 budget, in Riyadh

DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s finance minister said on Tuesday his country was talking to manufacturers to provide COVID-19 vaccines to low-income countries including Yemen and African states.

“We are negotiating with a lot of the vaccination companies to provide more vaccinations particularly to low income countries,” Mohammed al-Jadaan told the virtual World Economic Forum in Davos.

Saudi Arabia leads a military coalition that has been fighting the Iran-aligned Houthi group in Yemen since early 2015, in a war that has pushed Yemen into a humanitarian crisis.

Jadaan said Yemen and some African nations would not be able to get enough vaccines through the COVAX facility – the global pooled procurement mechanism for COVID-19 vaccines.

The COVAX programme aims to help Yemen reach 20% of its high-risk population with donated vaccines.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier told the same forum that wealthy countries should stop hoarding excess COVID-19 vaccines that they had ordered but did not immediately need.

(Reporting by Davide Barbuscia and Saeed Azhar; Writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Alison Williams and John Stonestreet)

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