The World Health Organization has taken a firm decision that the African continent will not be used as testing grounds for any COVID-19 Vaccine.
A ‘furious’ Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a news briefing Monday said: “Africa can’t and won’t be a testing ground for any vaccine.”
Two French Doctors, Dr. Jean-Paul Mira and Dr. Camille Locht last week suggested Africa as a suitable place to conduct the study on some new vaccines to fight the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
“If I can be provocative, shouldn’t we do this study in Africa, where there are no masks, no treatment, no resuscitation, a bit like it has been done in some studies in AIDS, where among prostitutes, we try things, because they are exposed, and they don’t protect themselves, what do you think?” Dr. Jean-Paul Mira head of intensive care at Cochin hospital in Paris said in an interview with French TV channel LCI.
These comments, tagged as ‘racists’ by many have triggered a sense of anger among many African nationals who believe Africans should not be used as ‘guinea pigs.’ Social media users on the continent also started a hashtag #WeAreNotLabRats, with two soccer icons joining the fray.
Subsequently, one of the doctors, Dr. Jean-Paul Mira offered an apology saying, “I want to present all my apologies to those who were hurt, shocked and felt insulted by the remarks I clumsily expressed.”
Meanwhile, in Ghana, Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye has said the country will accept any vaccine once it is authorized and approved by the relevant authorities.
The question on the vaccine was asked at the 40th minute of the WHO’s press briefing: