Monday, January 11, 2021

South Africa and the Pandemic

 Epidemiologist Salim Abdool Karim could be considered South Africa’s equivalent  to America's Anthony Fauci. As co-chair of the South African Ministerial Advisory Committee on Covid-19, he is the government’s top adviser on the pandemic and has become the country’s face of Covid-19 science. He also sits on the Africa Task Force for Novel Coronavirus, overseeing the continent’s response to the global crisis. Karim, who directs the Durban-based Centre for the Aids Programme of Research in South Africa and is a professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, has long advocated for science and speaking truth to power. For three decades, along with his wife and scientific collaborator, Quarraisha Abdool Karim, he has been at the forefront of the fight against South Africa’s substantial HIV and tuberculosis epidemics and in the early 2000s was one of the scientists who spoke out against the government’s Aids denialism.

We can therfore view him as a person with vast experience and knowledge so his message should not be ignored nor neglected. 

He was asked, "Are you worried that low- and middle-income countries won’t get enough vaccines?"

He answered, "Vaccine nationalism is a concern. There are countries – like the US – that believe they will be safe while the rest of the world is not. It’s a fundamental fallacy. None of us are safe if one of us is not. We have mutual interdependence. We need the whole world to be part of Covax: all the drug companies should have committed all their vaccine doses to Covax, which could then equitably provide the vaccine so all healthcare workers can get vaccinated. It will be terrible if the US is vaccinating low-risk young people while we in Africa cannot vaccinate healthcare workers."

He pointed out that South Africa,  doesn’t "...have money to buy 10m doses and then not use it if it’s inappropriate."

Salim Abdool Karim: 'None of us are safe from Covid if one of us is not. We have mutual interdependence' | Coronavirus | The Guardian

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