US and UK stifle access to Covid-19 vaccines

The herald

Victor Maphosa and Fungi Kwaramba-Herald Reporters

The dictatorship and deception of the WESTERN countries has been exposed in the current rollout of Covid-19 vaccines for piling up critical antidotes as most of the world, including Africa, is beaten by a third wave.

This despite the West’s initial commitment to provide vaccines to African countries to help curb the spread of the pandemic.

In a clear display of discrimination and poise, the United States has maintained restrictions on exports of chemicals needed to make vaccines.

At the summit of heads of state and government of SADC which has just ended, the region noted with concern the nationalization of vaccines against Covid-19, declaring: “The summit congratulated HE President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa , President of South Africa, Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), to enable more countries to produce the COVID-19 vaccine and facilitate access for all. “

Zimbabwean telecommunications magnate Strive Masiyiwa, who is part of the African Union team tasked with researching vaccines for the continent, recently accused the West of deliberately keeping vaccines while Africans die.

“They told us they created this thing called Covax. I met them with my colleagues, the African leaders in January and we told them what you can do for us. They said we can deliver up to 20 percent. We said but 20 percent can’t solve our problem; you said that the Europeans and the Americans have set a target of 70% for their population. Why should Africa face this all the time? They said, well, we can only do 20 percent, you have to go to the donors.

“We said okay meet us halfway, you do 30% and we do 30% and we set a target of 60% and they said ok. We said can you give us a schedule of what you can deliver. They said 700 million doses. (I have it in writing). We met in January and they said that in February you will start receiving vaccines for 27% of your population by December (I wrote it down), ”Mr. Masiyiwa said. Instead of providing the 700 million doses, they only used less than 30 million of that projected target.

“During this time we couldn’t buy any, so how can I say science has been a miracle for my people who are dying, we are going through a third wave, our people are dying, we have grandmothers who are dying.

“You can watch the Euro final without a mask, it’s happening now but we can’t and I can’t be here and not tell you that I’m not disappointed. So it’s not a question of ‘moral failure was deliberate,’ said Mr. Masiyiwa.

Although Zimbabwe did not line up for handouts from the COVAX facility, as it procured the vaccines for its people on its own in countries like China, Russia and India, experts say that the conduct of the West leaves so much to be wanted.

The executive director of the Community Health Working Group (CWGH), Mr. Itai Rusike, has criticized the West for piling up surplus vaccines when the world sorely needs them.

“The spread of Covid-19 reminds us that no one is safe until everyone is safe. Despite the fact that viral infection has no borders, many countries around the world are approaching the pandemic on a narrow nationalist basis instead of ensuring international cooperation and solidarity that will ensure affordable and urgent access to vaccines for anyone who needs it. In particular, European countries, Canada and the United States have pre-ordered large numbers of vaccine doses that exceed the needs of their populations. While countries in Europe, Canada and the United States of America vaccinate millions of their inhabitants, many countries in sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to sufficient doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. This is a blatant injustice and it will only prolong the pandemic. All countries, regardless of their wealth, must have unhindered and timely access to quality, safe, effective and affordable vaccines.

“We support measures that aim to ensure that the World Trade Organization, rich countries and the pharmaceutical industry do not continue, in this pandemic, to apply structural intellectual property, patent and price barriers that undermine the universal access to vaccines, and thus limit mass vaccination and in turn collective immunity. If not, they must consider all the needles and preventable deaths in this pandemic. Vaccines must be declared public good so that we can have vaccine equity. Without widespread vaccination, we will not be able to end this pandemic ”.

Mr. Rusike said Africa should invest in building capacity and vaccine manufacturing capacities.

“The continent’s low manufacturing capacity exposes Africans to supply chain risks such as that encountered with the current challenges of the Covid-19 vaccine. The expansion of African manufacturing will have significant public impact and economic benefits for the continent ”.

Academic and researcher Mr. Alex Munyonga said the corrosive nature of Covid 19 and its exponential spread demanded a comprehensive, inclusive approach, but Western countries refused to play ball.

“Strive Masiyiwa is fair in condemning the selfish and mercantilist approach in the production and sale of drugs and equipment related to Covid. This was also supported by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who called for the lifting of patents on Covid-related technologies.

“The celebration of West-oriented Covid 19 vaccines as African medical efforts are thwarted arouses skepticism of Western professions regarding global democracy and diversity. Democracy without real democratization of medical research is madness.

“Diversity without accepting ontological and epistemological plurality across the globe highlights the corrosive nature of the Western gaze on other regions, especially Africa. The alleged “donation” of vaccines to Africans raises questions about Africa’s position in the Western matrix of drug testing and experimentation.

“Questions abound as to why Africans are presented as experimental ‘objects’ and never as research ‘subjects’. Western technological and epistemological dictatorship manifests itself in the midst of pandemics.

“The hymn to Western democracy without real democratization of medical research is madness. The “criminocratic” interests of Western pharmaceuticals still tarnish the prospects for African medicinal development. It is high time that Africans unite and jealously protect African intellectual and alternative knowledge from predators of Western medico-technological monsters.

“Western countries are accumulating Covid 19 drugs while blocking production in developing countries. They first want to vaccinate their populations and let the virus wreak havoc in non-Western regions such as Africa so that, out of desperation, African countries then easily fall prey to profiteering Western pharmaceutical predators, ”he said. declared.

Mr. Munyonga said the plight of Africa has always presented a gateway to the super-riches of Western countries.

“There is a sense in which the pandemic and technological advancements have become a new route of colonization that I call the techno-colonization of Africa. Western techno-medical evangelism aims to capture and suppress African medical discoveries. There is a warning against Western selfishness and contempt for the world situation. African distress is seen as a gateway to super profits.

“This is a manifest ‘greedocracy’ led by these Western countries. Western domination thus persists as African medical epistemological capacities are crushed. The asymmetrical epistemological relations between the West and Africa continue to benefit the West.

“With such realities, one wonders how Africans can make a significant contribution to taming the stinking enemy of Covid-19, as pandemics are highly politicized, fuzzy and bred to serve the interests of Western ‘criminocratic pharmaceuticals’ “. Africans are further removed from the enjoyment of their medicinal epistemologies by global intellectual property rights and copyright law.

“The objective is to thwart competition and to harvest a crop of ‘docile’ Africans through the sale of drugs linked to Covid-19 and the signing of related ‘agreements’. Africa must strengthen African governance of intellectual property and alternative knowledge to avoid falling prey to Western predators “medico-technological monsters”.

“Morality should prevail over profits at such tragic times. From the hunhu / ubuntu point of view, life should take precedence over wealth, especially in tragic times ”.

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