Opinion Pieces

Vaccine inequity deepens structural racial discrimination. Institutional failures enabling global COVID inequity can also deepen structural discrimination.

11 April 2022

Open Global Rights: Over five decades ago, the first codified global human rights instrument on racial injustice, the International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. As we celebrated the 56th anniversary of the ICERD a few months ago, it is disheartening that two years since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, inequalities in vaccine and healthcare access continue to deepen along racial and intersectional lines.

New WTO deal is a slap in the face for poorer countries

18 June 2022

Tian Johnson, Yousuf Vawda and Fatima Hassan argue that a new deal struck by the World Trade Organisation – which did not include an intellectual-property waiver for vaccines – is a massive setback for the cause of global health equity.

Say no to rich nations and WTO bullying in Geneva – why South Africa should stand up and not be silenced

15 June 2022

African Alliance Founder and Strategist Tian Johnson, Yousuf Vawda from the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s School of Law and Fatima Hassan from the Health Justice Initiative Fatima Hassan wrote an op-ed on reasons that South Africa (along with other groups) and indeed all countries committed to enabling access and thus ending the Covid-19 pandemic, should reject the bad deal and text being negotiated in the WTO’s Ministerial Conference.

Institution’s Reputation Over Covid Medicines Access

13 June 2022

African Alliance Founder and Strategist Lead Tian Johnson and Melinda St. Louis, director at Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch write about the shameful inaction by WTO to secure a comprehensive waiver of intellectual property rules to achieve vaccine equity.

More than two years into the pandemic with an estimated 15 million lives lost – due to the EU’s intransigence, the WTO has still not secured a comprehensive waiver of intellectual property rules that should have been delivered on day one.

This shameful inaction by the WTO contributed to the tragic reality that still only 15% of people in low-income countries have received their first shot, and the world will be ill-prepared to ramp up rapid production of next-generation vaccines targeting new variants, as well as lifesaving treatments and diagnostics.

An Inconvenient Truth: The real reason why Africa is not getting vaccinate

12 October 2021

Only 2.5% of the world’s COVID vaccines have gone to African countries. As a result of vaccine hoarding by rich countries, more than 100-million COVID doses could go to waste this year. Rather than focusing on the high levels of vaccine equity, pharmaceutical companies are trying to shift the blame onto vaccine hesitancy on the continent.

Sex workers, former inmates and people who use drugs help to feed the world during the pandemic

11 August 2021

As India suffered a devastating surge in Covid-19 cases and deaths, the vital role of community-led organisations became clearer than ever. And like similar organisations around the world, they are leading on one essential community service – providing food. Now funders need to catch up and put more unrestricted funding into the hands of community-based organisations that represent and understand marginalised communities. And they need to explicitly include food provision as an essential part of pandemic relief.

Vaccine hesitancy or Systemic Racism?

22 June 2021

Minority communities and developing-country populations may approach health services cautiously – and with good reason, given the medical profession’s history of inhumanity. But, by blaming low COVID-19 vaccination rates on vaccine hesitancy, the profession is effectively using this history to victimize the same communities again.

We are closer to an HIV vaccine now more than ever before

18th May 2021

It took less than a year for researchers to develop a vaccine against COVID-19. The search for an HIV vaccine began almost 40 years ago.


The unprecedented pace at which the COVID-19 jabs were developed and the scientific breakthrough they required have re-energised those efforts to develop an HIV vaccine. But they have also raised critical questions about what could have been if the search for an HIV vaccine had met with the same resources and political will as the coronavirus pandemic

Pandemics and plans: Why South Africa needs to reimagine its HIV strategy
1st December 2020

Although new HIV infection sfeel by an impressive percentage between 2010 and 2019,the COVID-19pandemic has led to setbacks. Some of these setbacks include a reduction in HIV medication and HIV viral load testing. As a result, South Africa needs to startthinking about how it can re-imagine the futureof its responses.

SA’s latest COVID-19 vaccine trial crucial for future access

9th November 2020

South Africa’s newest COVID-19 vaccine trial is another crucial step in ensuring a future vaccine works for South Africans and should be commended. South African scientists’ leading role in COVID-19 vaccine research takes us a step closer in ensuring that history doesn’t repeat itself in this pandemic

South Africa has launched a third COVID-19 vaccine trial. Here’s what you need to know
1st November 2020

South Africa is set to begin a new research study to see if an experimental vaccine can prevent COVID-19 or reduce the risk of serious symptoms. Science is moving fast to try to contain the pandemic, but it should not and cannot afford to leave communities behind.

The Desmond Tutu Health Foundation, the South African Medical Research Council and pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson launched the Ensemble study today. The clinical research trial features an experimental COVID-19 vaccine that scientists hope will protect people from becoming infected with the new coronavirus or developing serious COVID-19 disease.

Who would you trust to watch as the world decides who does — and doesn’t — get a COVID-19 vaccine?

1st October 2020

The World Health Organization and international donors have created a body to make sure poor countries get their fair share of a COVID-19 vaccine — when it comes. But who will be watching as the world’s leaders and scientists decide who gets and who goes without?  The globe’s best hope for an accountable and transparent process can’t be left to chance. It also can’t be left solely to government officials and donors

Advocates Statement on Standard of Care in COVID-19 Research

5th June 2020

Statement issued by the Universal Access to Personal Protective Equipment Platform for Health Care Workers, The Vaccine Advocacy Resource GroupCOVID-19 Front[1]The Treatment Action CampaignWACI Health, the New HIV Vaccine and Microbicide Advocacy Society (NHVMAS) and JARID International. The concerns raised in this letter have also been brought to the attention of the leadership of DENOSA, the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa.