- Title: South African anti-vaccine protesters say "we are not guinea pigs"
- Date: 1st July 2020
- Summary: MORE PLACARDS READING: "#We Not Guinea Pigs... No Unsafe Vaccine." PROTESTERS GATHERED HOLDING UP PLACARDS (SOUNDBITE) (English) COMMUNITY ACTIVIST, WALTER MASHILO, SAYING: "So we are saying today as always, we want to see some organisations which were so in support of the lockdown, we want them to be in the forefront of testing this vaccine to show leadership." MORE PLACARDS (SOUNDBITE) (English) PROTESTER, TEBOGO LEGOALE, SAYING: "I'm not happy at all, I'm not happy at all, I mean this feels like 1981 all over again or in the 1980's all over again when the AIDS pandemic just broke out in SA (South Africa), it feels like the same thing, it's like a replay, but this time they're doing it in our face." VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS BURNING FACE MASKS MASKS BURNING TRADITIONAL HEALERS CHANTING TRADITIONAL HEALERS CHANTING AND CLAPPING WHILE LOOKING AT THE HERBS SIMMERING AND ASHES OF BURNT OUT FACE MASKS TRADITIONAL HEALERS AND PROTESTERS GATHERED (SOUNDBITE) (English) COMPLIANCE OFFICER FOR TRADITIONAL HEALERS ORGANISATION, SELLWANE MOKATSI, SAYING: "All of a sudden we get confused as healers, suddenly they bring out a vaccine that we supposed to follow, we saying we are not going to follow the vaccine because we as healers believe that our traditional medicine is not given a chance." TRADITIONAL HEALERS DRINKING A HERBAL REMEDY FROM PLASTIC BOTTLE VARIOUS OF DOWNTOWN JOHANNESBURG
- Embargoed: 15th July 2020 17:11
- Keywords: Bill Gates University of the Witwatersrand anti-vaccine sentiment coronavirus vaccine traditional healers vaccine trials
- Location: JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
- City: JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
- Country: South Africa
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA002CKZ8P5J
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:As South Africa rolled out the continents first human trials for a potential coronavirus vaccine, about 50 anti-vaccine demonstrators took to the streets on Wednesday to voice out their sentiments against the tests.
Last Wednesday, the University of the Witwatersrand in partnership with Oxford University announced the country's first clinical trial, which will consist of 2,000 volunteers from 18 to 65 years of age, including some HIV positive patients.
This prompted a new wave of anti-vaccine sentiment, with protesters saying they do not want to be used as guinea pigs, reflecting long-running fears among some in the country over testing drugs on people who are not comfortable or don't understand the risks.
"I'm not happy at all! I mean this feels like the 1980s all over again when the AIDS pandemic just broke out in South Africa," 29-year old graphic designer Tebogo Legoale told Reuters on the side of the protest at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
The demonstrators, carrying placards written "#Fxxx the vaccine..we r not guinea pigs", sung and chanted slogans.
Twenty nine-year-old community activist Walter Mashilo said the vaccine should be tested first on members of parliament and minister's children and not be tested on poor people.
"So we are saying today as always, we want to see some organisations which were so in support of the lockdown, we want them to be in the forefront of testing this vaccine to show leadership," he said addressing the crowd carrying a placard that read "#No to Gates poison...we don't want the gates of hell here", referring to Bill Gates.
Hopes are that South Africa's involvement in vaccine trials will ensure the continent will have access to an affordable vaccine and not be left at the back of the queue.
South Africa has the highest rate of infections on the continent, with confirmed cases at over 150,000 and deaths at more than 2,657.
Traditional healers are also fighting for their medicine to be used in fighting the virus instead of vaccines.
"All of a sudden we get confused as healers, suddenly they bring out a vaccine that we supposed to follow, we saying we are not going to follow the vaccine because we as healers believe that our traditional medicine is not given a chance," Sellwane Mokatsi, 32-year old compliance officer, who is also part of the Traditional healers organisation, said.
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