How a bug brought the world to a standstill
…“to vaccinate or not to vaccinate, Death to 2020.”
Ambassador Anthony Mukwita wrote:
4th February 2021 Berlin
From the Ebola virus, malaria, floods and droughts to the present deadly coronavirus, sorrow and pain has always been with us.
But like the Legend of The Phoenix, we as humankind have, through God’s grace, arisen from adversity and soared like eagles.
Children under five in Zambia no longer die from missiles, smallpox or polio while malaria is on the way to getting eradicated.
But just when you thought it was safe to sleep, out of Wuhan came the bug that brought the world to a standstill killing about 2 million people globally and infecting million others. The world asked yet again—”when do these covid fatalities end?”
Science reckons ´normal´ will return, “when a vaccine is invented´ to stop us from falling sick and dying from the raging Wuhan bug.
HERE COMES THE VACCINE BUT
Thus far not one, but several good vaccines have been invented or funded from the United States, the EU, USA, Russia and China, basically the ´Usual Suspects.´
With the global total number of deaths standing rising in under two years as at February 2021, the world breathed a sigh of relief on the back of news of vaccines with people saying, “we could return to normal again.”
Hopeful as this may appear, the expensive vaccine will not be available to everyone at the same time as Jesus said, “the poor shall always be among us.”
WHO THE CAP FITS LET THEM WEAR IT
You have watched movies such as ´Snow Piercer´ where it´s all about the fittest and richest surviving, the poor and weak die.
It’s a sad public health reality (covid) I can´t ´honey coat it´ but that’s how it appears the bug vaccine will work, “money will talk” regardless of the fact that poor South Africans volunteered for human trials to ensure the vaccine is safe for the West. The affluent West paid for it they will get it first and sweet.
America alone has bought 600 million vaccines, twice its population need, to ensure that its entire population gets vaccinated. Zambia is only 17 million people and we have none yet though the government is working round the clock to ensure we get one, a safe one that shall be made available only on full approval of science and our diligent Cabinet under President Edgar Lungu.
Just to give you a feel of the numbers, wealthy nations such as the United States have pre-purchased vaccines that outstrip their population (3.8 billion doses with an option for another 5 billion) therefore denying equal or greater access to developing nations like our mostly in Africa and south Asia.
The EU is hedging and even fighting with their British cousins post-Brexit for a greater share of the vaccine because they largely funded its production and are saying, “he Who pays the Piper Calls the Tune.” give us today our daily jab. Where is Africa?
CLOSER TO HOME AWAY FROM
Germany wants to ensure its citizens and residents are fully jabbed by quarter three to stop the spread and death, they are willing to even try Chinese and Russian if they test safe according studies.
Germans are meticulous from my experience, probably the reason they make Mercedes Benz, AUDI, BMW and VW.
I was nevertheless comforted when I heard our Health Minister Dr Jonas Chanda say Zambians will know once a vaccine has been approved by Cabinet and modalities drawn. South Africa has already started inoculations.
AFRICA WHEREART THOU?
Call the West greedy and callous but they paid Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, CureVac etc to make the vaccine, keep their people alive and ´wawawa´. Africa is just the “other guy” presently.
But this must not be a bad thing because pressure makes diamonds that are harder than stone.
Time is on our side so if given three hours to cut a big covid tree, lets use two hours to sharpen our act.
THE SILVER LINING TO A DARK CLOUD?
We must realise the power we wield during this pandemic given the vast natural resources, land, 365 days of sunshine and climate we have, the west lacks.
We can fund and make our own vaccine, the science is available already plus we have land, copper, manganese, cobalt, gold etc, and a youthful labour force, we are rich, wir sind reich.
We just need partners to reach our full potential so we can invite CureVac or Johnson & Johnson to set up shop in Zambia we have land and labour and we can throw in an incentive or two and prepare for the next plague ten years from today.
Why do we always wait for our good President Lungu to go give direction when we can table ideas o him? Ati Boma iyanganepo really?
HOW DOE WE RISE TO THE OCCASION?
We can sell a copper mine, an oil well or gold alluvial for a western or African company to churn 10 billion vaccines, enough for all of Africa and beyond. I am a dreamer.
We can make masks, drugs and PPEs easy and save the West and laugh all the way to the bank.
The adage goes, “when there´s blood on the streets, buy property”. We have lots of bloody streets.
Let’s not wallow in self-pity and cry that the west has bought all the vaccines when we can scorch the earth and set fire to covid skies.
We can designate an entire province tax free for covid monetisation purposes for instance and I am just spit-balling here. Rome wasn’t built in a day neither was Shenzhen and Nevada.
I remain economically romantic because I know my good President Lungu reads the signs of the times.
WHICH COUNTRIES HAVE VACCINATED THE MOST GLOBALLY?
China targeted to vaccinate 50 million people using 23,500 sites from about 75 cities by January according to reports.
Germany seeks to inoculate every citizen by the end of the year (about 83 million people) if vaccines they have paid for are not delayed.
We can stop crying to die and start fighting to fly on a proverbial leap of faith.
Globally inoculations stand at about 101 million people according to reports. None from Zambia.
Israel is tops with 57.65 doses per 100 people, followed by the United Arab Emirates (34.79 per 100 people), U.K. (14.42), Bahrain (10.16) and the U.S. (9.63) according to Forbes.
It’s time for a vaccine avant-garde from Africa.
IS THIS THE WAY THE STORY ENDS?
Science recommends that once the vaccine is available, lets inoculate because we might suffer sickness or death once the third wave cometh.
We don’t know how and when this story ends but a vaccine could alter the course.
Zambia is a great country and despite having been hard hit, we can overcome by keeping safe and taking the jab once Cabinet approves one.
A Death to 2020 quote says, “No one could have foreseen what the vaccine would do to us or how we would use our new powers…and that’s when President Harris unveiled her real agenda”
Stop hating and start loving Zambia.
This personal essay was penned by H.E Anthony Mukwita, the Ambassador of Zambia to the Federal Republic of Germany who is also a published author. The Op-ed was inspired by Death to 2020 currently running on Netflix.
Copyright Anthony Mukwita February 2021 under lockdown.