Protesters gathered outside the University of the Witswatersrand in Johannesburg Wednesday against Africa’s first COVID-19 vaccine trial.
With burned face masks, protesters sang and danced carrying banners which read “We’re not guinea pigs… No safe vaccine.”
“It goes against all protocols. And even if people are going to consent, there has to be informed consent. It’s a form of a violation of a person’s body. It’s a form of rape. It’s not acceptable. So vaccine period, whether it’s in China or Italy, is not acceptable. But however logic should tell me that if you want to test, test in the areas which they call the epicenter of the world, but the epicentre of South Africa”, Sean Goss said.
The continent’s first vaccine trial for the coronavirus began in South Africa last week. It is part of one already underway in the United Kingdom.
The vaccine was developed at the University of Oxford. Some 2,000 volunteers in this Southern African nation are expected to participate. Members of the Traditional Healers Organisation also came out in support of the protest.
“We feel that our government is not supporting traditional medicine, is also not recognising the work of traditional healers, because there are many things that there are many, many medicines that traditional healers could produce that could help with the COVID-19. So we feel that government is not supporting traditional medicine”, Seloane Mokgatsi, of the Traditional Healers Organisation said.
South Africa has over 151,000 confirmed cases, the most in Africa. Overall, the continent has more than 400,000 cases.