South Africa - Cape Town - 17 February 2021 - A health worker holds a COVID-19 vaccine at Khayelitsha District Hospital.. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)(ANATOPIX)
South Africa - Cape Town - 17 February 2021 - A health worker holds a COVID-19 vaccine at Khayelitsha District Hospital.. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)(ANATOPIX)

ANC says world Covid-19 enquiry wont help while rich nations continue to hoard vaccines

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published Jul 31, 2021

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Cape Town - The ANC says “politically motivated enquiries” into the origins of Covid-19 are not going to assist the world, at a time where richer nations are disregarding World Health Organization's recommendations on vaccine accessibility for all by hording the jabs.

“The vaccines with greater efficacy on preventing Covid-19 should be public goods and not the commodity that has seen the major vaccine producing companies rake in billions, with their CEOs becoming billionaires while the rest of the globe suffers both death and economic destruction,” said ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe in a statement.

“This should be the focus of the global community and not re-engagement in politically motivated enquiries on the origin of the pandemic. It is worth pointing out that most of the evidence produced by the scientific community points to natural origins.”

Mabe said the ANC would welcome strengthening of evidence from mid-2020 in any further enquiries with the aim of equipping the global community to better understand how corona type viruses spread across species with the aim of preventing similar pandemics.

“Now is not the time to engage in conspiracy based theories. We have seen how counter-productive these tendencies were in the 1980s when HIV/AIDS emerged and during the SARS outbreak in 2003,” said Mabe.

“Research into the origins of the virus is important from a scientific and global health policy perspective and it should not be used as a smoke-screen for geopolitical contestation that has nothing to do with ending the pandemic or understanding how to prevent future pandemics.”

The ANc said the Covid –19 scourge has resulted in the deaths of millions of people across the world, and has decimated global economies, exacerbating existing inequalities within and between countries.

“In early 2020 despite the xenophobic utterances and policies of then President Donald Trump of the US, countries around the globe generally worked together in efforts to limit the spread of the virus. This veneer of solidarity was exposed as soon as research pertaining to candidate vaccines became successful,” said Mabe.

“High income countries resorted to vaccine nationalism and forms of vaccine apartheid through pre-purchasing vaccines to inoculate their populations multiple times, hoarding vaccines and blocking a South Africa and Indian sponsored initiative at the WTO [World Trade Organization] that would temporarily waive Intellectual Property related requirements in order to increase equitable access to vaccines, life-saving therapeutics and diagnostics.”

International news agency AFP reported earlier this week that the World Trade Organization countries had failed again to agree on a proposal to suspend intellectual property rights on Covid-19 vaccines in order to boost production and fill a void in poor nations.

South Africa and India have been pushing for a temporary waiver of some intellectual property rights on vaccines and other treatments, which could allow local manufacturers to produce the shots.

Mabe said the outcome of the ongoing vaccine nationalism has seen the emergence of new variants of Covid-19, increased morbidities and mortality in the developing world and a degrading of economies leading to increased poverty and inequality.

“It is in this context that the ANC is of the view that the global community should work to rebuild the initial solidarity displayed at the onset of the pandemic as this is the only way to effectively combat the spread and destruction of the virus,” said Mabe.

African News Agency (ANA)

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