By Pali Lehohla
The procurement of Covid-19 vaccine has dominated the news with some three distinct voices emerging against the use of the vaccine, the hoarding of vaccines from countries that have more than their fair share and the availability of forms of treatment that are cheaper and very effective against deafening silence by governments and big pharmaceuticals.
A person of influence who has come under the lens is Bill Gates and what interests he has in vaccines.
These have deepened discussions on the role of capital, capitalism, statehood and countries first.
Canada, for example, has procured ten times the number of doses compared to their population. So in the midst of the pandemic some are taking and accumulating more even when society is discussing a reset based on more equitable access to resources and life saving devices.
A group of medical practitioners has argued for use of other medically proven interventions from observational studies. Clinicians from Texas have treated more than 75 patients for Covid-19 using a regimen of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, losartan, aspirin and zinc.
More recently Thomas Borody, a renowned medical doctor from Sydney, has urged health authorities to give vulnerable people infected with coronavirus Ivermectin, which is a cheap and freely available drug at $2. Borody says this has confirmed a 100 percent recovery rate.
In South Africa, Dr Emmanuel Taban has made a novel discovery using a flexible fibre optic bronchoscopy to remove mucus that blocks the lungs, treating 40 patients successfully.
The questions then is why are big pharmaceuticals so quiet on these.
Borody says argues that it is probably because of these innovations on the pharmaceutical’s profits.
This possible version of capital in the face of a pandemic is not far from the avoided discussion in South Africa about what former president Thabo Mbeki called the behaviour of capital that it will unashamedly put exorbitant profits before life at the height of the HIV/Aids pandemic.
The silence of authorities suggests paucity of the Mbeki type leadership when it is even more possible to emerge in the face of all countries facing a global pandemic.
Pope Francis, the head of one of the richest states on earth – the Vatican - has come together with other billionaires to try and tame the face of capital towards inclusive capitalism.
The philanthropic face of Gates has squared up with those suspecting that the behaviour of vaccine pundits is directly linked to accumulation of riches on the back of human misery and it must be rejected.
We are in a strange world and Pope Francis may just perform the miracle for a post Covid-19 world order of socialised capital.
Dr Pali Lehohla is the former Statistician-General of South Africa and former head of Statistics South Africa.