This blog post is not intended to be politically correct so if you are sensitive to me ranting, I wouldn’t continue reading. In the last 24 hours this topic has unfolded and become my worst nightmare. To start with, I have just learnt that both Congo DR, Angola and South Africa [ and probably more African countries ] have agreed to take test vaccines on their people for #Covid-19.
It is so ironic, how just the morning of the 3rd April, I was on twitter joking about my father, who is currently out in Angola during one of the worst times. And he seemed to be very convinced that Angola had found a cure vaccine for Coronavirus that they will be sharing to the USA and Europe if it works. IF IT WORKS. So essentially what is going on is that African leaders have agreed for their people to be lab rats, and if it goes the right way and several people don’t just drop like flies from an unprecedented illness, then America/ the UK and Europe can get their hands on it. What is even more funny about this is that if the vaccines work, there will soon be another African crisis of shortage of vaccines. The countries that were involved in test vaccines will be the same ones begging for it, rest assured.
”So when I came across this article by the BBC discussing a french doctor called Jean Paul Mira and a researcher called Camille Locht saying the following:
“If I can be provocative, shouldn't we be doing this study in Africa, where there are no masks, no treatments, no resuscitation?”A bit like as it is done elsewhere for some studies on Aids. In prostitutes, we try things because we know that they are highly exposed and that they do not protect themselves.” (BBC, 2020)
I was utterly disgusted at the way this European doctor tried to suggest basically that African people aren’t taking care of themselves anyway so let’s go and manipulate their fate because it won’t make a difference. The audacity. As soon as I read this I went and told my father not to accept any vaccine offered to him, because let’s face it, me that lives in Europe has not been called for a vaccine so what do you think Africans are receiving? If I didn’t know any better I would say they just want to infect more of them.
It seems some western countries are being more secretive about their intentions with the trial vaccines, for example in the USA they’ve declared “ the first human trial vaccine was announced in Seattle, they’ve taken the unusual step to skip testing on animals“ (Gallagher, 2020). So who are they testing on? Are they calling hundreds of Americans to put their lives at risk while Europe is playing pin the tail on the donkey with vaccines in Africa? oh no, America will want in the fun too. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that the only testing will take place in Africa; this wouldn't be true, because the US has given a first shot to a US volunteer, medical writers stated that "we don’t know whether this vaccine will induce an immune response or whether it will be safe. That’s why we’re doing a trial" (Neergaard and Johnson AP, 2020). My issue with this claim is this, in the USA, people are able to bravely volunteer to take a vaccine, its their choice. If they want to look like a hero, more power to them. But ask yourself, do you think the Africans will be volunteers? Or will it just be a truck pulling up to a community, vaccinating everybody in a line?...
What Mira said was challenged by some football players including Samuel Eto and Didier Drogba, [both Africans] to which Mira’s initial response was “we can’t exclude Africa from research because it is a global pandemic“ (BBC, 2020). Such an ignorant answer from someone who is supposed to be intelligent and knows that that isn’t what’s really being questioned here ; the question is why are we starting in Africa? The continent that has the LEAST cases. Why not start right back in China? Its because you cannot stand in-front of a Chinese leader and tell them that nonsense. They’d probably laugh in your face! If they want to kill their people, they’ll do it themselves thanks. But in Africa, In Congo, we are ascribed to a life of injustice, of having NO say, of being attacked by an invisible invader that we can just never see coming.
Just yesterday at 8-9pm I attended a zoom meeting with the CEO of a new crowd funding company [AB Crowdfunding] that opened up in Congo. Many important points were raised on that call including the fact that Congo’s healthcare has not been hit how people expect it to be hit. Others on the call who receive information from their kin in Lubumbashi, Congo stated that they are really scared of what is to come... So imagine being really scared and then being told suddenly there’s a vaccine for you. Of course many Africans with no access to adequate healthcare or information would jump at the chance to be vaccinated. This is even bigger than what it seems, the WHO have urged as many African countries as possible to take part in its “solidarity trial” (Roussi and Maxmen, 2020) and take on testing for 4 potential #Covid-19 treatments. I’m not even joking when I say their explanation for why they want this is nothing short of pathetic. They’re saying people in low income countries like “Africa may have underlying conditions so we need to see if they react to drugs differently”... or, “the virus may surge in Africa next”, WHAT? HUH? None of this makes sense, and this is why as Africans we can never trust these big organisations because they love to pretend like they value us when really they don’t. They want us to believe we are working WITH them but no, it’s always FOR them. Nothing has changed.
Such clinical testing usually takes place in 3 stages (Spinney, 2020) as Bruce Gellin who works for Sabin Vaccine Institute in Washington DC points out.
“The first, involving a few dozen healthy volunteers, tests the vaccine for safety, monitoring for adverse effects. The second, involving several hundred people, usually in a part of the world affected by the disease, looks at how effective the vaccine is, and the third does the same in several thousand people. But there’s a high level of attrition as experimental vaccines pass through these phases. “Not all horses that leave the starting gate will finish the race,” (Spinney, 2020)
Not all horses that leave the gate will finish the race...is this a sport to them? Gellin wasn’t specifically referring to Africa in that quote but it gives a very clear indication of how he sees testing should be carried out, insensitive, lacking empathy or remorse, selfish... ask yourself if you think he would apply that sentiment to Americans ? The answers is most likely to be no.
As this unfolds, I will write more. But as you can probably tell I am furious and yes this article is may seem biased and one-sided but this is me ranting, and at least it makes one publication who is defending Africa on this front. what do you guys think, do you agree with me? Comment on this post on social media to have your say @ssozinha___
thanks for reading