For Kovid-19 vaccines, some are very rich – and very poor

Poor and middle-income nations, largely unable to compete in the open market, rely on a complex vaccine sharing scheme called Kovacs. A collaboration of international health organizations, Kovacs was designed to avoid all the oddities for a free market. But its deals are attached, and health advocates are questioning its transparency and accountability.

By the middle of next year, South African authorities hope to secure their first vaccine dose under Kovacs, even as they negotiate to buy supplementary supplies from drug manufacturers. But in a country where luxury estates are kept away from sprawling villages, many expect the new vaccines to remain a privilege for residents who can pay out of pocket or through supplemental insurance – a A program that benefits white people.

“You can go to your local private pharmacy and you can go to your local private pharmacy and hit a hundred dollars (about $ 15) and kill me,” said researcher Francois Venter of the University of Johannesburg.

The best chance that many South Africans have ever had to get vaccinated is to have clinical trials and unsafe vaccines tested on their bodies. But that system has raised ethical questions.

The first is whether countries such as South Africa, which are supporting trials by four drugmakers, should be guaranteed a dose if the trial is successful. The government has not received any such guarantee. And at any rate, such an arrangement would be morally spurious, because it would punish countries that participate in unsuccessful trials.

As this month, Britain prepares to begin its vaccination campaign, with dozens of people moving from their huts in Massifumele township, south of Cape Town, to the gates of the Desmond Tutu Health Foundation.

For a chance to enroll in a clinical trial for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, he waited hours under the shade of a gum tree.

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