Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba. ANA/Tracey Adams
Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba. ANA/Tracey Adams

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba condemns 'vaccine apartheid' as roll-out continues

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Apr 6, 2021

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Cape Town – Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town has accused the world of practising “vaccine apartheid” and called for the poor and the marginalised to be vaccinated at the same rate as those living in wealthier countries.

In his Easter sermon, he also called on the government and business in South Africa to develop a co-ordinated plan with “a clear, achievable, published timetable for getting everyone their vaccines.”

Preaching at the Easter Vigil at St George's Cathedral, Cape Town, he said that “vaccine nationalism has already taken hold”.

“The voluntary vaccine supply mechanisms, such as Covax, and the bi-lateral agreements used to procure vaccines across the world, are failing. And they are failing especially for the Global South, where we can with justification, say that the poor of the world are suffering from vaccine apartheid.”

In South Africa, he said he was sceptical of how quickly the roll-out will progress in view of “the fragility of some of our health infrastructure … Those covered by the private health-care industry and on medical aids can feel more confident.

“But I am worried that, as is often the case, it is the poor and the marginalised who will suffer.”

He said: “Distributing and administering vaccines is not rocket science: it’s just a matter of getting the logistics right. If humankind can send a spacecraft 470 million kilometres to Mars and gently drop a landing rover onto the planet’s surface, surely South Africans can come up with a co-ordinated plan to collaborate in getting vaccines quickly to every corner of our country?”

He called on “all people of faith, and those of no faith” to challenge the government to be transparent and fair in the roll-out.

“Let us also challenge vaccine nationalism – you can't put a flag on the vaccine and hope that the virus will not cross borders – and let us challenge the vaccine apartheid practised by those who play god and determine who is condemned to suffer and die on the cross of coronavirus.

“Let us fight against those with money and who are greedy, who put profits above human life, and who determine who can have access to a vaccine and who not,” he said.

Cape Argus

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