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Monopolies on Covid vaccines are killing people in poorer countries | Achal Prabhala and Chelsea Clinton

Emissaries from South Africa have been begging the WTO to endorse a vaccine waiver to spare more unnecessary suffering

On 10 July,Dr Abraham Sokhaya Nkomo died of Covid-19 in Pretoria, South Africa. Abe Nkomo, as he was popularly known, was a giant of South African public life: a physician, an anti-apartheid organiser, a member of parliament, a diplomat and a longtime public health activist. He received his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on 9 June. On 24 June, his family noticed he had developed flu-like symptoms, and moved him to a hospital after he tested positive for Covid. At first, he seemed to be beating the infection. Soon, however, his oxygen levels dropped, and he needed a ventilator. He was then shifted into ICU, where his condition declined rapidly.

In the weeks leading up to his death, thousands of miles away, his youngest son, Marumo Nkomo, a councillor at the South African Mission in Geneva, was in frenzied talks at the World Trade Organization. As the trade representative for his country, Nkomo and his boss – the head of the mission, Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter – were pushing the WTO to endorse a global waiver of pharmaceutical monopolies so that poor countries around the world could produce the vaccines they need. (Less than 3% of the African continent has been vaccinated to date, because rich countries have bought up and hoarded nearly the entire global supply). As his father’s condition deteriorated, Nkomo made the decision to fly home. Ten minutes after his plane touched down in Johannesburg, his brother called to tell him their father had died.

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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