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Africa. Still in the grip of the whitecoats.

Updated: Oct 11, 2020

On August 26, 2020, AP News reported that health authorities had just declared that the African continent was free of the wild poliovirus after decades of effort. Without a doubt, that is good news for Africa. Pakistan and Afghanistan are now thought to be the only countries to still have wild poliovirus circulating throughout their population. Unfortunately, it is a highly infectious, water-borne disease whose eradication has been hampered by attacks on the very health care workers who are tasked with trying to deliver effective vaccination to the population.

Polio once paralysed 75,000 children a year across Africa and the declaration is a rare bit of good news in a continent which continues fighting against coronavirus, Ebola, malaria, HIV and tuberculosis. The World Health Organisation said it was “an incredible and emotional day”. It was just the second time a virus has been eradicated, after the elimination of smallpox four decades ago.

But then a week later, on September 2, 2020, AP News ran another article which reported that there was a new polio outbreak in Sudan. More than a dozen African countries are currently battling outbreaks of polio including Angola, Congo, Nigeria and Zambia. So, what caused the outbreak? A vaccine-derived polio virus type 2. In other words, the very vaccine which is supposed to prevent polio, has now led to new outbreaks in vulnerable countries. In fact, officials now fear this new dangerous strain could soon “jump continents”, causing further deadly outbreaks around the world.

The World Health Organisation has spent $16 billion over 30 years trying to eradicate polio. Instead, almost four times as many cases have occurred in Pakistan and Afghanistan compared to the same period in 2018. In Pakistan, government officials were so determined to up the ante on vaccination programs that they began to jail parents who did not comply. Many began to hide their children or used fake finger markings to pretend they had been vaccinated (officials mark the smallest finger with ink as proof that children have had the polio vaccine).

One official, speaking of the outbreak in Africa, admitted that “We have now created more new emergences of the virus than we have stopped”. In 2019, clearly aware of the growing problem, the government of Ethiopia ordered the destruction of 57,000 vials of type 2 oral polio vaccine (mOPV2).

So, who is involved in this? Well, the oral polio vaccine is being pushed onto the African population by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. The Initiative has six core partners – The World Health Organisation, Rotary International, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, Gavi and, a name which is continually front and centre during these last days, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Setting aside for a moment the monumental issues which the African continent is now facing as a result of polio outbreaks caused by polio vaccines, lets turn our attention to COVID-19. Gavi (as mentioned above) is a vaccine alliance whose founding partners include some familiar names: The World Health Organisation, UNICEF, The World Bank and (you guessed it) the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. And, where do you think Gavi is running a COVID-19 vaccine trial? Africa.

Vaccine trials in Africa are a sensitive and potentially controversial issue. If you want to study an abhorrent and scientifically racist example of using people of colour for experiments, I suggest you look up the “Tuskegee Study” which took place in America. If that wasn’t bad enough, it seems racist undertones still exist in the scientific community. Just a couple of months ago, French scientists came under fire for suggesting that Africa be used as a “testing lab” for trials of the BCG (tuberculosis) vaccine against COVID-19 in Africa first, with one saying “If I can be provocative, shouldn’t we be doing this study in Africa, where there are no masks, no treatments, no resuscitation?” In other words – use the poor black people as guinea pigs. I cannot put into words how sickening that statement is. People who hold such views should be named and stripped of their credentials.

However, the Western world is also in the crosshairs of vaccine makers and tech companies. The COVID-19 Credentials Initiative is working to deploy digital identity solutions to help stop the spread of COVID-19. These “credentials” (widely known as an “immunity passport”) would include some form of digital certificate issued to each individual to indicate who has been tested, recovered or been administered with any eventual vaccine. So, who do you think is fully supportive of this idea? Bill Gates.

So, when The Wall Street Journal reported in August 2020 that The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would be backing the world’s largest vaccine maker, Serum Institute of India, to churn out 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccine for poorer countries, many people would be understandably anxious about pharmaceutical companies and billionaires thrusting hastily made vaccines on unsuspecting people.

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