Picture: GAVI/2020/ISAAC GRIBERG
Picture: GAVI/2020/ISAAC GRIBERG

Given the level of misinformation we have seen in the recent months, it’s fully understandable and indeed unsurprising that people would be concerned about the human testing of the Covid-19 vaccines in SA.

But they would be wrong to conclude that the testing of vaccines is bad for SA or bad for our continent. As Covid-19 infections across Africa continue to rise, it is of vital importance for our safety and our economic livelihoods that any vaccines that eventually get developed work for Africans as well as for anyone else.

Science always works best with the brightest light shining upon it: there must be full transparency, fully informed consent and full scrutiny of the trial’s methods and results. With trials of the Oxford University vaccine under way in the UK and Brazil, we can be proud that Africa’s scientists are leading the charge in the greatest global scientific collaboration of all time just as we should be pleased that, for once, efforts are afoot to ensure Africans get equal access to the first vaccines rather than pushed to the back of the line as has happened too often in the past. 

Thabani Maphosa 
MD of Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance

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