SECOND PEOPLE’S VACCINE ALLIANCE MEETING #PEOPLESVACCINE”
People’s Vaccine Alliance Africa Civil Society Meeting: May 27, 2021
Maaza Seyoum 03:20
Thank you, everybody, for joining our second Peoples Vaccine Alliance African civil society organisation meeting. As everyone knows, we’ve decided that we’ll do this on the final Thursday of every month at the slot. So we appreciate you joining us. It’s been a busy month, and we have quite a few things to get through. I would appreciate it since we are over 20 people, we don’t want everyone to introduce themselves because it will take quite a bit of time. But if you could please just jump in the chat and just say your name, we have your name here, what organisation you’re from, that would be fantastic. So people can get to know each other. So put your organisation, please, along with your full name. If your name is not complete in the way you’re described on zoom, that would be great. Alright, so we will go ahead and get started. I hope people have seen the agenda that we shared around are we live? I don’t think we’re streaming live at the moment. Right. But we are recording, and we will be sharing this later. But live, I don’t believe we are streaming live. Is that correct?
That is correct, Maaza.
Okay. Great. Thank you. And Alright, so I’m just going to share my screen quickly to go over what we have planned for today’s agenda. And please go ahead, as I said, and start just putting in your info in the chat so we can see who you are. My name is Maaza Seyoum. I am with the African Alliance and currently chairing the People’s Vaccine Alliance work in Africa on behalf of the People’s Vaccine Alliance and the African Alliance. So this is what we have planned today. We’re first going to start with the report from the last meeting. I hope everybody received it.
I will share my screen and just quickly scroll through it and remind you what we would like you to do in terms of signups. We are trying to encourage more of you to sign up to become members. Please give us your phone number so we can put you on this WhatsApp group that we’re setting up and showing you the function to sign up for information to receive African Vaccine Delivery Alliance (AVDA) notices and to also be members of the People’s Vaccine Alliance officially for those of you who want to do that. I have a brief presentation on updates from PVA global, recent developments. And there has been so much since the last time we met at the end of April. And there are shifts in strategy as well. And then we’re going to give you all an opportunity to talk about your recent activities and your plans. That’s when we have a short slot for Eastern Africa National Networks of AIDS and Health Service Organisations (EANNASO), our partner in East Africa, to introduce the work they do briefly. So hopefully, we will get that microphone working and allow them to brief us then. We wanted to talk to you about the African Charter on COVID-19, which is currently in draft form. And Tian, I will be imposing on you to please give a quick update on that. And then really to talk about activities that we can develop together in June, we do have one idea that we wanted to run by you, but it will also depend on everything else that is going on for you on the continent. So that is what we have planned for today. I will be sharing the report. And I hope that you all received the report that we sent. I’m just going to quickly share the screen so you can see what it looks like. I know that often when we say we’re sharing documents, people think, oh, good grief, am I going to have to read an entire long report? But it was quite short. It’s only seven pages, going through what we talked about last time and linking to a transcript. And thank you again, Vivienne Naidoo, for doing such good work on cleaning up the transcript. And so, we have referred you to specific areas in the transcript where we didn’t want to list out everything in the report. So I wanted to give people an opportunity, please raise your hand if you read the report and there was something that you felt was misrepresented or missing that we didn’t discuss. And here is where I wanted to show you we have put on page five here the links for people to click to, for example, join the PVA get more and more involved in the African Vaccine Delivery Alliance (AVADA) pillars and are interested in also just getting on to our WhatsApp page. If I click on the link here, Can people see the link? Or do I need to share my screen differently? Tian, can people see the MailChimp, or should I reshare it?
You can reshare Maaza.
Okay, so basically, I’ve clicked on the Mailchimp link, and this is what it looks like. I’m going to show you all, but it’s really basic. It’s just a concise form for you to fill in your name, your organisation, your area of work, and then here’s where we’d like to you to your phone numbers with your country codes. Please put in your country codes for your WhatsApp communications. The sector you work in, which countries you work in, and then here is where you would tick off the different areas. So here’s for people who want to join the People’s Vaccine Alliance officially. As we said, there’s no requirement. But if you would like to join the People’s Vaccine Alliance as an individual or with your organisation, then you will be on all of the People’s Vaccine Alliance communications.
You’ll be invited to attend the large bi-weekly meeting. So for those organisations who are willing or interested, please do that. We do have a small steering committee and charter writing team, as we discussed last time. Please tick here to sign up on that. And then this one is for the African Vaccine Delivery Alliance updates. And then, we also have an option for general African Alliance updates. So that’s what I wanted to make sure people knew we did not have a whole bunch of you click on this link. I know that it was buried in the report. So perhaps people did not get to get to that page five of the report. So I wanted to encourage you, please, to skim through the report. Let us know if you have any comments,
but most importantly, click on these links, and join the different areas. Finally, I did have a question that was not answered here from Vassie Naidoo. I don’t know if Vassie is on today. And this was a question that we had committed to trying to get an answer to. And the question was: what action has the People’s Vaccine Alliance taken on pharmaceutical companies that want the governments, including governments in the global south, from what I understand, to take responsibility for any adverse events that vaccinated persons may experience? So I did speak to the leadership at the People’s Vaccine Alliance about this. And at the moment, they do not have an official stance on pharmaceutical companies insisting that governments take responsibility for adverse events. They said that their sense is that this is country by country. It depends on how countries have negotiated. Some pharmaceutical companies are trying to tie this to technology sharing, saying that if we share technology and allow vaccines to be manufactured in other countries, you will have to take responsibility for any adverse events. Please raise your hands if people have more information about this. But what we were told from the People’s Vaccine Alliance leadership is that it is country by country. How did countries negotiate? I know that Tanveer is here. And the last time I spoke to Tanveer, she did say that there are many lawyers, obviously at her organisation. So if you have anything to add about that, but in terms of Vassie – incomplete sentence.
I see that Tanveer has raised her hand. So Viv, if you could unmute her, that would be great to get your thoughts. That was a question. The one question that was pending for the last time that we have not answered yet. But the main point is at the moment, the People’s Vaccine Alliance does not have an official stance on this. But it is a country by country negotiation. Tanveer, do you have anything to add?
Tanveer Jeewa 12:54
Thank you so much, Maaza. And it’s mostly something that’s based on my research at the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ). We were planning on writing about this, and that has still been on hold. But based on the fact that this is, unfortunately, quite a normal procedure in times of pandemic. The last time we can trace it back to was possibly during Ebola and the H1N1 flu, where vaccines were made available. And we’ve seen, for example, in the US from back then; they had already adopted legislation that would require the state to bear the responsibilities and the liability for any mishap that could happen with the vaccine. And we’ve seen that the same was the case for the UK, for example. And very much like Maaza has said, it’s been dependent on a country to country basis. But many of the global north countries had adopted legislation from before COVID, which said that in emergency circumstances, with the rapid development of vaccines, usually, you will not be able to hold vaccine manufacturers and suppliers etc. liable for any injuries or even in cases of death, which seems to be the most problematic part, maybe the circumstances of death as I mentioned. Many countries have alleviated this because, as many of you know, having state-funded compensation schemes, which is the case in the US, seems to be the case in South Africa. And in the UK. But this also has a very high threshold. Of course, within my personal research, which is not a reflection of the ICJ stance on the matter. We have seen that this is mainly based on negotiations that countries have entered in with the different pharmaceutical companies. And these high thresholds still don’t account for obviously case as of mala fides, in which companies would have either gross misconduct or very gross negligence. So this is just the background of the legal stance and where we stand in different countries. I hope that’s helpful.
Maaza Seyoum 15:17
Thank you very much. Althea, I’ve seen your comments here. Althea (Fatima) says, please see our Health Justice Initiative submission on this. We do not support the socialising of risk when Intellectual Property (IP) is in place as it gives a full indemnity to pharma, which they insisted on to us. Full indemnification is bullying by pharma. Oh, it’s Fatima. Hi, Fatima. Okay. Great. Fatima. This sounds like it’s an issue that people are interested in. Could you please just unmute Fatima? So, Fatima, you can say a few words on this because it’s a pending question. Viv, could you unmute Fatima? Please? Fatima, are you able to speak? We can always come back to it later. While Fatima is being unmuted, I wanted to let you know that some survey questions are coming through on the zoom. We wanted to ask the group; for example, the People’s Vaccine Alliance is in the process of updating their frequently asked questions. And they want to know if there are some burning questions from collaborators in Africa that they could include in their frequently asked questions. So we will be circulating a survey with questions like that. They’re also curious about civil society representatives, and how many of you had access to a COVID-19 vaccine? How many of you have family members or friends who have had access? So it’s just about five or six questions on a survey that will pop up on the zoom? Fatima, it seems like we are still unable to hear you.
What name is Fatima using?
She’s under Althea Adonis. She’s here incognito today. So please don’t be surprised if questions pop up on the screen. They will be anonymous answers. There you go. Fatima. So if you could tell us a little bit more about that indemnity issue.
Fatima Hassan 17:19
Hi, can you hear me? Thanks. Yes. I’m sorry. I have no idea why it is coming under Althea. Yeah, so we’ve done a submission on the requirement by, in particular, Pfizer. And also, Johnson and Johnson to a lesser extent, but we believe that Pfizer pushed through the condition that they would not release supplies to any country in every part of the world unless governments took full responsibility for a full indemnification. So they asked for full waivers before they would release the supplies. This explains why in South Africa, there was quick promulgation of a new Vaccine Injury Compensation team within a few days where the public was only given about three working days to come in. It’s already been gazetted. And that that was sort of the hostage situation that many governments found themselves in. If you didn’t set up the scheme on the terms, they wouldn’t enter into a contract with you and release the supplies in a South African situation. It’s so egregious that they are trying the past regulation or law, which says that nobody, under any circumstance, even if it was a civil or criminal liability, can take action against any of the pharmaceutical companies, even if it’s for negligence. And that’s the reason why many of us in South Africa have not supported the terms and conditions with the parameters of the so-called Vaccine Injury Compensation Scheme, which then varies. It’s sometimes a regular practice, but the risk is usually shared. And in the situation of COVID. You know, just my last point, we believe that what companies have done is that they’ve socialised the risk on the research and the injury schemes on the liability part, but about access and supplies, they’ve totally privatised that part. And so they are in control of who they signed contracts with, when they give you supplies and who they provide licenses for. But when it comes to funding the research, they’ve defunded the risk, and when it comes to dealing with liability, they’ve defended the risk. We have not been able to get any information from our government about the full terms and conditions. So in our opinion, they’ve subverted our constitution to pander to the interests of pharmaceutical companies. The complete submission is on our website. Thanks.
Maaza Seyoum 19:40
Okay, fantastic, Fatima, and if you’re able, if you could share the submission link in the chat, that would be great because I know that this is an issue that people are interested in. So thank you. Thank you for that. Okay, fantastic. All right. So let’s move right along. I will share my screen again and quickly go through a PowerPoint presentation, and I’ll try and make it as quick as possible. But just the updates and changes in the month last since we met. So we met on the 30th of April. And a lot has happened in the last month; please feel free to drop questions in the chat. But there will be an opportunity to have a discussion afterwards as well. So we had our meeting in April. This is just to give you a sense of what the People’s Vaccine Alliance has been working on, generally at the global level, in the last month.
So we met on the 30th of April; we were talking about the fact that the US was being pressured to support the trips waiver that is about the Intellectual Property (IP) rights to the COVID-19 vaccines and other COVID-19 treatments, etc. So the Biden administration surprised us all by announcing their support for the World Trade organisation’s trips waiver, and I’m going to send you this presentation. So you’ll get to click on all the links as well. So this was good news. It does not mean that that the battle is won. Still, the US supporting it is good news because many pharmaceutical companies are based in the US, and the US does have the power to help sway the World Trade Organization and sway other people. So there’s some Twitter threads and other things that we have linked here that you can see. The European Parliament has voted in favour of the trips waiver. I’m told that that’s just a pressure mechanism because each country also has to support the trips waiver. So the Ethiopian Parliament voting in favour of it is just a way to pressure the countries like Germany, the UK and Norway, that are still not supporting the trips waiver. But it, unfortunately, does not mean anything; it’s just an encouraging sign. New Zealand and Spain have joined up on the right side of history and Indonesia, Russia, China, and Italy. So they’ve come out in support of the waiver and some positive signs from Ireland and Belgium. Big, big, big pushback from pharma, obviously. And that has meant that France and Canada have been flip-flopping. The French President had initially said that they would follow the US and then have gone back. So France and Canada have been quite disappointing, the UK has been very disappointing. But now, there’s some sense that they are considering joining the right side of history. But also, that could just be because the G7 summit is happening in the UK, and they don’t want to seem like the bad guys. So, Germany is seriously blocking the trips waiver and Norway, Brazil, South Korea and Singapore. So those are the countries that we sort of have to keep in mind as we think of actions and targets France and Canada, the UK, Germany, Norway, Brazil, South Korea, and Singapore. The thing about the trips waiver and the lawyers have much more information about this and can give us more details. But, as Joab said yesterday, in another webinar we were on, the devil is in the details. The trips waiver needs to be well written to reflect the needs. So that’s something to keep in mind about how the trips waiver is drafted, we will be sending you these documents, and you’ll get to see the different links and resources that can be helpful. So we’ll share these with you. So many people are coming with counter-arguments talking about why the trips waiver is a bad idea. So these are resources that help to debunk these talking points. And hopefully, those will be helpful to you as you work with your constituents and conduct advocacy in your own countries. So just to give you a sense of the type of work that the People’s Vaccine Alliance is doing, there was an open letter to Biden, which was right before his administration; the US administration agreed to support the WTO trips waiver.
So that was an open letter signed by heads of state, former heads of state and the Nobel laureate. So there’s a link to that that you can see; there is a people’s vaccine Alliance petition, which over 2 million people have signed. And the goal is to get that to 3 million if possible. A tweetstorm targeted pharmaceutical CEOs, and some resolutions were presented to Johnson and Johnson and Pfizer leadership. And then there are also some Oxfam resources that you will get to see here. There was a global release because nine new billionaires have been created out of the COVID-19 vaccines. So COVID-19 billionaires are being minted as we speak due to the covid 19 pandemic, so there’s some press around that and some graphics. So just to keep in mind, many countries are facing a new wave of pandemic, and new variants are being dealt with. So in terms of the messaging, the People’s Vaccine Alliance has reminded people that the bulk of the deaths could still be ahead of us. Many people think that just because the US has supported the trips waiver, we have won, that is not the case. We are very pleased that the US administration has agreed to support the waiver. But there’s still a long way to go. It does seem that Biden and Tai, the secretary that works on these issues, have good intentions. But according to people on the inside in the US, there’s not a clear consensus on how they want to take this forward. So a lot of pressure still needs to continue with the US administration. And also, going forward, we need to think a little bit more about how we target Germany that is blocking. And there is a real interest in getting the voices from the global south and focusing on how to shame pharma and shaming Germany and the other countries blocking the trips waiver. Some key targets are the Group of Seven meetings the G7 meeting, which is coming in the UK, the second week of June. And then also thinking looking forward to the G20 meeting which takes place in October in Italy. So the G20 meeting does include South Africa and other countries from the global south. So that might be a good target for us to think about in terms of planning activities. So strategic priorities going forward for May and June, really pushing the US to play a diplomatic role, focusing on tech transfer issues. And that’s pushing. None of the pharmaceutical companies has joined C-TAP for the tech transfer. And also making sure that there’s progressive text at the World Trade Organisation and an excellent solid and wide waiver. The two items that I put here in red are the ones that we think that African civil society organisations should be focusing on:
From the presentation:
- Grow voice of South, people and countries, on cost of inaction and readiness to manufacture
- Pushing Germany – and the rest of blockers, mainly Europe – to pursue tech transfer, back waiver.
I’m growing, making sure that our voices are included. There is this message that’s going around that manufacturing capabilities in the global south, including Africa, are not ready for COVID-19 vaccines. And data shows that that is not true that there are factories in South Africa and elsewhere that would be ready to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines. We need to increase the agitation around pushing Germany and the rest of the blockers in Europe to back the waiver, pursue this idea of tech transfer, and then increase the heat on pharmaceutical companies to at least 1) to join into C-TAP. So here, I think we can brainstorm together. But it’s really about how African civil society can be more involved in the actions around this. We do have some ideas, but we want to hear from you. Something that the People’s Vaccine Alliance has decided to do is develop a Global Week of Action. So that’s in June the week, starting the 7th of June, as a lead up to the G7 meeting. There are some activities planned in the different countries where the People’s Vaccine Alliance has a presence. And we want to brainstorm with you on how we can make sure African voices are included in that week of action. And as I said, we have some ideas that we will run by you. But we want to hear your thoughts as well. So some key dates are coming up. As I mentioned to you last time, the People’s Vaccine Alliance is very good at identifying key advocacy opportunities, giving us a little bit of advance notice. There is a COVAX meeting, obviously coming up very quickly, co-hosted by Japan in the US. Are there things that we can do on social media? There’s the G7 Health ministers meeting coming up before the broader G7 meeting. That’s June 3rd and 4th. And then the 7th of June, the week of action building up to the G7 meeting. And there’s also a World Trade Organization, trips, General account council meeting as well.
So that’s just really to give you a sense of what the people’s vaccine Alliance is targeting. Before we go into the activities that you have been working on, I just want to give people an opportunity to ask questions about that very quick presentation, which I will be sharing. Does anybody have any questions about what I presented? If not, I would like to turn to you and give you an opportunity to share with us what your work has looked like in the last month. I know that People’s Vaccine Kenya hosted a meeting. It’d be great to hear the outcomes of that, Tanveer; I know that you are very active. Fatima, there are so many very different meetings that you were involved in. Before we give EANNASO an opportunity to introduce themselves. Are there any key outcomes from meetings that you’ve hosted in the last month that you would like to share with us regarding activities going forward? I can tell you briefly that the ideas are either to have a kind of Twitter storms targeting specific embassies, specific individuals that the countries that are contributing to blocking, and ideas about hosting protests at embassies. So either at the German Embassy at the Norwegian embassy, there is an idea about hosting a protest, which would have to be very quick. So I’m really curious, Fatima if you think this is possible. Emmanuel Macron is in South Africa tomorrow and the day after. Can he be greeted with people protesting and targeting his flip-flopping? There is an idea we would like to run by you about drafting a joint civil society letter, African civil society, an open letter to the European leaders, and flagging their hypocrisy and colonial tendencies. You know, here we are 2021, and the European leaders are telling us that we will survive with the scraps that they’re not using or that we will be fine using the vaccines among young people in Africa that they are not using among young people in Europe, or telling us that we don’t have the capability to produce vaccines, even though the truth is we do. So that is one idea to kind of in the build-up to the G7 meeting. The UK is hosting. The UK has been a colonial power in many of our countries. So an opportunity to kind of shame them for their colonial tendencies. So those are the ideas of social media action, physical activities for the countries where that is safe and possible, protesting at embassies, protesting mainly at embassies, I think. Fatima’s group had done a protest at Pfizer. And Fatima, you can please tell us about that. That was for the global day of action in March, if you thought there was traction around that. And since Pfizer, I think, is the main one that’s in South Africa. I don’t know if other pharmaceutical companies, AstraZeneca or J&J, have an office in South Africa. You can let us know. Okay, so you know, shaming pharma shaming, Germany shaming, Norway. I don’t know how we feel about trying to shame Brazil, it seems like Brazil is sort of an odd case where the country wants to go forward, but the President does not. So those are the ideas that we were talking about. And we would like to brainstorm with you on whether you think those are realistic.
But before we do that, I will just check the chat and see if there are comments. But in the meantime, please raise your hand, if there’s somebody who has done an activity that they would like to brief the group about, you’re also welcome to share the document with us, and we’ll make sure everybody gets it. Okay, here, Fatima says, Macron will be here tomorrow. Yes, I saw that he was in Rwanda today and was on his way to South Africa. So it might be too late to plan something. But if he can be kind of trailed around and harassed a little bit, I wouldn’t mind. So. Thank you. And Viv has also just put up the poll here. So take your time. It’s anonymous. But answer the questions, please. If you feel comfortable answering these questions, just give us a little bit of additional information for the People’s Vaccine Alliance. So Fatima, maybe I’ll start with you. Sorry to put you on the spot again. How did you feel the protest went when you did it in March at Pfizer? Did you get quite a bit of press off of that? Did anything happen? And how do you feel about the ground protest going forward for the next month or so? Either, if possible, to organise it very quickly? For the French President or German Embassy, Norwegian Embassy, other embassies representing countries blocking the waiver? Can you unmute Fatima again?
Fatima Hassan 33:54
Can you hear me? So I’ve just checked with some officials. He’s going to be at the University of Pretoria (UP) apparently at 2 pm. So that’s, that’s news to us because he was supposed not to come here. He was going to come here and then not come and only go to Kigali. So I’m not sure Maaza and Tian if we have enough time to speak to some people to see whether we can have a protest set up at UP with some of the students, etc. But I think even if we had 10 or 15 people outside the French Embassy, the German embassy, and the region embassy, there are some rumours that he may use the UP. I don’t know whether he’s giving a speech or what’s going on there. If could somebody could find out for us from the UP folks. Maybe we can ask Ntembele. But it seems that he may announce some kind of support for the waive. My sense is that it could be like the Biden proposal, the narrow one. We should claim that victory and see if we can make a noise in the morning or somebody suggested the Twitter storm. This is all Chatham House. Our sense of what the French are doing, and you can speak to others in People’s Vaccine Alliance globally, particularly Pauline. A number of activists in France is that it is quite a two-faced kind of strategy from the French. Macron says one thing and then does another. So, you know, like the Germans and the Norwegians. I think we have to up the pressure. That’s sort of what I hear from my side, that all the information I have, Maaza. Oh, and how did the protests go? MSF organised by Candace and them, and TAC Folks helped, and PVC folks help. We sent letters, and I can share that with you after this in an email. These open letters are sent to all the embassies and can be copied for tomorrow if you want some adjustments. PVC arranged the protests outside Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson; Mordena doesn’t have an office here. Johnson and Johnson eventually agreed to physically receive the memo through a grilled security bar gate kind of thing. Aspen came outside with the team with a lot of security and took it like decent people. And Pfizer refused, called their security, and did not take a physical handover of the memo. But all of the memos were emailed to them as well. And to the CEOs. Only Johnson and Johnson responded with the usual kind of IP defence thing. None of the other companies has responded to the PVC SA’s letter.
Maaza Seyoum 37:08
Thank you. And before we go into the idea of an open letter from civil society, to our European friends. Does anybody else have any activities that they have held over the last month? I see the Tanveer has raised a hand. Does anybody else have any activities that they have conducted over the last month with some interesting outputs that they would like to share with the group? Tanveer? I think you can go ahead.
Tanveer Jeewa 37:41
Thank you so much, Maaza. I would like to just kind of comment on the activities that we’ve had, but mostly the activities that we’re intending on moving forward with the African Alliance and Health Justice Initiative, Oxfam, Amnesty International. We are very much part of the activities we’ve held before. We mostly had workshops with lawyers and Public Health Officers from different SADAC countries, one from each country, except for Tanzania, which we all know for reasons that I will not state again. Still, essentially what we have agreed on moving forward, we have used this information to compile a report to pressure SADAC to do more. As we all know, SADAC has been very silent, not only on vaccines supplying but in terms of vaccine manufacturing and just regional integration, generally, with vaccines. And based on these workshops, we’ve come up with advocacy strategies, and we’re looking at for right now. And, as Fatima mentioned, this is all still Chatham House and just kind of under the wraps right now. But we are looking at ramping up our advocacy in the SADAC region, hopefully directing a letter at the Secretariat to kind of get them to influence them to include vaccines when they’re discussing their summit. And I’m hoping that we could get some information. Maybe African Alliance or HJI may be more informed about the dates where summits are being held. Because right now, everything is kind of unconfirmed. We haven’t received any specific dates on which they’re going to have their summit. But this is the first thing that we’re looking at. And I know Joab is here from Oxfam Joab has been working with us on this. This is our SADAC strategy. Our other strategy is at the African Union level hoping to get commitments from member states and ministers. We are looking at maybe submitting to the African Commission, as well as the AU and engaging in lobbying the World Health Organization Africa office in terms of the Africa COVAX facility to ensure the distribution of vaccines to countries is urgently scaled up and trying to meet their alleged target of vaccinating 20% of the population by the end of 2021, which I know most of us are still kind of hopeless about. And another advocacy move that we have right now is we are intending on organising a litigation brainstorming workshop. And I’m hoping that maybe as time goes by in this meeting, or maybe afterwards, I could get more information from some of you. But essentially, the plan is to invite local human rights lawyers and NGOs from SADAC countries. This is confidential. ICJ is still looking at maybe supporting litigation around vaccine access in these countries. Obviously, this is going to have to be very much strategic litigation. We will be choosing the countries, depending on how the judiciary right now is kind of angling itself regarding access to the COVID-19 vaccine. I’m hoping to contact some lawyers or some legal civil society organisations to include in this closed meeting. So that we can brainstorm on what litigation is currently happening, and hopefully, we can support it. And lastly, I think that’s in line with mostly what Fatima has said about possibly getting students at UP to kind of protest against Macron. And that’s just that we are hoping to have more student advocacy, speak to student representative councils, Youth Advocacy movements and organisations, and just generally student activists because we want to build relationships with them and get them more involved. So that eventually, in August, we can support advocacy at SADAC and Africa level with a strong student youth voice. So if anyone has any contacts in terms of maybe lawyers, as I mentioned, for the litigation workshop, or even student activists in the different SADAC countries, I would appreciate it. But that’s more or less the activities that we have. I will drop my email in the chat if anyone’s interested in maybe giving more information or joining hands with us. But otherwise, I think a lot of organisations are on here; we will still be in contact with you regarding a lot of this because I can assure you that a lot of your help will be beneficial. Thank you.
Maaza Seyoum 42:29
Okay, great. Thank you so much for all that, Tanveer. I will get your number individually, Tanveer and add you to the small Whatsapp group, made up of ActionAid, African Alliance, Oxfam and People’s Vaccine Kenya. If you can, I would encourage all of you; if you have any trouble, let me know to go into the link I showed you and put your phone number there. So we can already start adding you, and I’ll add you Tanveer to the WhatsApp group immediately. Fatima, I have your number. I hope I have your approval to add you to the PVA Africa WhatsApp group. I know you probably have 17 different WhatsApp groups you’re on. And we can at least start brainstorming about quick things like this that are coming up, like Macron’s visit or any other protests or something going on.
I just wanted to clarify a few things and the lawyers; maybe you can help me, but I heard both of you referred to Chatham House. I guess that’s Chatham House Rules, which means that people can say that they heard this at the African People’s Vaccine Alliance Africa meeting, but please don’t say that they heard it from Fatima or Tanveer. Is that correct? When you say this is under Chatham House Rules. Have I got that correctly?
So thank you. Tian is typing in the chat. So just clarifying, when you hear people refer to Chatham, that’s what that means. And Fatima and Tanveer will follow up with you because Viv is very detailed with her minutes with her transcripts. So we want to make sure that we list that appropriately. And I know that we are throwing around the acronyms. And if you go back to the report and the link, you’ll see the definition of COVAX, and people have been talking about the fact that COVAX is this initiative led by global organisations Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations (GAVI) and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). And the World Health Organisation (WHO) it’s the mechanism for pooling demand for COVID-19 vaccines and to try and ensure access for poor countries. So it’s a pooling mechanism. Fatima has talked a lot about how it has not been transparent. Even in the best-case scenario, it would be, as Tanveer said, the very low number of people vaccinated 20% by the end of the year, and even that is not looking hopeful. We have talked about what COVAX was last time, so just a reminder, C-TAP is the COVID-19 technology access pool launched by WHO in partnership with the government of Costa Rica with many member state co-sponsors. And that is about having pharmaceutical companies willingly share their knowledge and intellectual property, and data necessary for COVID-19. So those are so for COVID-19 technologies, and this is to accelerate the development of products needed to fight COVID-19 and to fight the pandemic, essentially. So no pharmaceutical companies have joined C-AP as of as of yet. So when you hear those acronyms, we talked about them last time, but I just wanted to give a reminder. So now I see that there are more attendees. We have two more hands up here. I think. We have Anand, and we have Mandipa. Viv can you you unmute? And maybe can I do that here? I can try. Anand, I think I’ve just unmuted you. You’re from People’s Vaccine Kenya, right.
Anand Madhvani 46:13
I’ve been working with them. I’m based in Nairobi. I’ve been working a little bit with them and some of the big volunteer networks in India. And I have some background in kind of coordinating volunteer responses. So I’m not looking at the advocacy side as much as kind of assuming we don’t get enough vaccines in time. What can be prepared in different countries regarding the volunteer response, media presence, and things like that? So we’re organising with various media groups in Kenya and some disaster response tools to help crowdsource kind of volunteer networks and crowdsource information and do fact-checking. So it’s a little bit separate from what you’re doing in terms of advocacy. But if anyone’s interested in that, do, please get in touch. Because I think we’re going to have a window of time when we probably are doing triage on the ground, just because of vaccine shortages.
Maaza Seyoum 47:12
Okay. Thank you. Thank you, Anand. And then I had one other hand up here, Mandipa, are you there? Go ahead. Remind us where you’re from.
Mandipa Machacha 47:36
I’m Mandipa Machacha from Amnesty International. I am an economic, social and cultural rights researcher. And I’ve been working on vaccine access work at Amnesty. But a lot of our work has also been with our partners, who are at this point, ICJ and Oxfam but we’re kind of also widening our partnership reach. And that’s why we’re also part of these meetings as well. But with Oxfam and ICJ, we’ve held a few consultations, as Tanveer said, with health rights, with human rights defenders and health rights experts in the region. And she explained, I think, all of the work that we’ve been doing with partners. Amnesty has also been doing a lot of work.
Amnesty is all over the world. So we’ve been doing a lot of campaigning work at the WTO level, but that’s been done by our colleagues in is in London and x sessions, and we’ve kind of been putting pressure on different countries using the sections that are in those countries. But I’ve mainly been focusing on work in the Southern African region; like what Tanveer has said, I just wanted to speak about she said everything perfectly, but I wanted to ask for help for something. So SADAC in relation to advocacy, which is going to be directed or targeting SADAC. So SADAC met on the 13th of May, quite a while after they last met. The report of the meeting or the meeting minutes outlined some of the goals set out for themselves as a region. Some of which were member states were encouraged to share information about vaccines and the number of doses that will stop this the secrecy and the NDA, and the different ways the pharmaceutical companies are negotiating with each country.
Maaza Seyoum 49:49
NDA just remind everyone for the non-legal people.
Mandipa Machacha 49:52
Sorry non-disclosure agreements, which many pharmaceutical companies are making countries sign. Because of that, I think they’ve seen that there’s been quite a patchy dribbling in of vaccines into the region because some vaccine some people are in better positions to negotiate agreements. Some countries are in diplomatic ties with other countries like China. So it’s been kind of this uneven tripling in all vaccines into the region, which SADAC is trying to sort of smoothening out. And then they also talked about sharing lessons on manufacturing, distribution and management and vaccines and information on potential investors and succeeding at manufacturing plants, which I think will also help People’s Vaccines work in relation to when big pharmacies, places in Africa, where manufacturing can happen. They said a lot of good stuff. And I will send a link in the chat as to what was said at that meeting. But they haven’t concretised anything. So we were planning to now direct some of our advocacy at trying to get them to make a resolution or a declaration at the summit, which happens in August. And because SADAC is member-led, we will need first to advocate ministers of health and ministers of Foreign Affairs to bring it up as a point of our conversation at the summit. We can’t do all countries in SADAC. So we decided to concentrate on five. South Africa is a powerhouse in Zimbabwe because they’ve had a relatively faster vaccination campaign than most places. Malawi as an incoming Chair of SADAC, Mozambique as outgoing chair and then possibly Botswana and Zambia, who will perhaps be the new executive secretary because the executive secretary is changing. And then we’re going to write to them and advocate, and just keep writing, putting pressure on them to ensure that this is brought up as a subject matter at the summit and that they’re corporatised. And they make some sort of a declaration or resolution, which can hold them to account based on what they said on the 13th. So I was hoping if there were any people in the Alliance in these countries who could assist us with that.
Maaza Seyoum 52:25
Yeah, thank you. And remind us, Mandisa, when is the date of the summit?
Mandipa Machacha 52:31
It’s in August. So we’re hoping to try to get letters out mid-June, just so that we have we still have time to be able to make follow-ups. And then we also wanted to do a little bit of media around the summit, like possibly write an open letter that we could maybe share with the group, making sure that they put this on the agenda, and then perhaps doing some news interviews or something around that time to put pressure on them to talk about it. Because SADAC is member-led, the Secretariat of SADAC is weak. We will have to first speak to the actual ministers and ministers of health because it is a health issue, and ministers of Foreign Affairs because they’re the people who talk for countries at the SADAC. So we wanted to make a two-prong approach of speaking to both of them. And then I also said in five countries, which have kind of the most power within SADAC, and then trying to get them to bring that up. So if we have Alliance members in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Botswana, and DRC, it could be helpful for us to formulate how we can apply this pressure. Write this letter, or if you have contacts in the health minister’s office, that would be great. Thank you.
Maaza Seyoum 53:56
Mandipa, if it would be helpful, I’ll contact you after this call, and maybe we can send out an email to the entire group. And as I said, the more people’s numbers for the WhatsApp group, the better, and that way, we can create a small subgroup focused on SADAC. I just wanted to highlight that the work of the Peoples Vaccine Alliance is global, but they always look for this kind of regional and national inputs. Because this the SADAC meeting was not, for example, on the PVA Global’s radar. So, this is a stick, you know, to have it be highlighted. I can see that they would be interested in helping promote anything that comes out of this meeting, whether on social media or in traditional media, so I will contact you immediately after this Mandipa. We’ll see if maybe, we can have a quick call about this next week. And I would encourage anybody in the five countries that Mandipa mentioned to please put your email in the chat now. Let her know if you have the bandwidth and the time to participate in this discussion. Put your email in the chat; if you’re in one of the countries that Mandipa mentioned. Listen again, please.
Mandipa Machacha 55:07
South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, and then Botswana and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Maaza Seyoum 55:21
Great. Okay. Thank you so much for that. All right. So, Anand, I know that People’s Vaccine Kenya has another call. So thank you for joining us. I see your note here, and you will get the reports. I just want to move us along; Tian, could you please introduce our comrade from EANNASO?
Tian Johnson 55:43
Yes, sure. Thanks, Maaza. Hello, everyone; thanks for joining. Tian and Johnson here from the African Alliance. As part of our work to cement the continental work and advocacy of the Peoples Vaccine globally, give it a meaningful African perspective, and ensure that African voices and African civil society realities are fed into national and regional work and global narrative. We’ve reached out to a range of really key partners that we feel have a critical mass of representation across civil society; of course, by reaching out to these key partners, it by no means excludes any other networks nationally, domestically or regionally, to sign up and join, we’re a firm believer of making the circle bigger. And so we’re excited to have Onesmus Mlewa Kalama, the acting executive director of EANNASO. So a lot of you on this call might recognise the historical work that EANNASO has done and played such a key and critical role in the region to ensure that communities across the spectrum are informed and aware of what the Global Fund is. What its processes are, and creating these spaces and platforms for meaningful community engagement within Global Fund, as it relates to grantmaking and procedures, to ensure that the resources have the impact that we want them to have. So I just like now to hand it over to our colleague from EANNASO, Onesmus, who will give us an overview of the work that they’re doing, particularly sharing with us in the context of COVID. How has the Global Fund structure pivoted with the partners like EANNASO to meet this moment and the needs of communities? So thank you again to EANNASO for your solidarity and for joining us and sharing some of your work with us on this call. So over to you.
Onesmus Kalama 57:48
Thank you very much. Am I audible now?
Yes, I can hear you.
Thank you. Thank you very much. So just probably before I go to say what EANNASO does, I think this conversation has been very good. And I just want to say that, Mandipa requested that she like to get the connections in Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. EANNASO is doing quite a lot of work across all Anglophone Africa. And we will be more than happy to do the connections and linkages of partners in this country for this action because we have quite a lot of contact in those countries. And on their campaign, I just wanted to say something that we have seen work very well, apart from just the mention and shame. Sometimes it works very well when we also adopt an approach where we say thank you. We have seen this work very well; within the Global Fund replenishment. We’ve seen this work very well, even in the current times of COVID, where when the US announced the 3.5 billion and key to the Global Fund. We organised a campaign to thank you for supporting the Global Fund. And it didn’t take long Germany also came in, and we say thank you, Germany, and then it was the Netherlands. So this is an approach we have also seen work. So as we even say that, we want to say put pressure on Germany and the other countries that are still not giving the green light for the travel. For the travelling concern, we can start by saying thank you, America, thank you, Joe Biden, for taking the lead in acknowledging this.
That could spur other countries to want to be thanked. Briefly just to say who EANNASO is, and my name is Onesmus Mlewa Kalama, Interim Executive Director, and EANNASO hosts The Global Fund community rights and gender strategic initiative. This Anglophone communication platform works across 25 African countries, including Anglophone Africa, countries, including the two Portuguese-speaking countries, Mozambique and Angola. And we strategically provide up to date information on Global Fund initiatives and current health interventions or information that is happening across the world—and just diving quickly to the COVID 19 mechanism.
We all know what the Global Fund currently is doing. Because what’s happening is when COVID came in, the three pandemics that have disturbed this world for a long time, HIV, TB, and Malaria, started suffering. We did conduct several surveys on how COVID impacted service delivery for HIV, TB, and Malaria. And so it was quite huge. The Global Fund has been concerned that all the gains realised on HIV, TB, and Malaria run the risk of being eroded because of COVID-19. Hence, it quickly started putting mechanisms to ensure integration of COVID-19 initiatives in ongoing Global Fund interventions so that HIV, TB and Malaria do not suffer. And in that regard, the Global Fund has come up with a facility which they call the COVID-19 response mechanism, where 15% base allocation for all Global Fund, grantee countries have been provided so that countries can plan and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the three global epidemics that have been ravaging. So in this process, EANNASO was the platform engaging civil society and communities to be part of this process. Interventions that are being planned for by governments include creating a framework to ensure that vaccines reach the people that they need to reach. We have taken into the space that it is not just only delivering the vaccine into point x, but it’s preparing the communities to accept this vaccine when it reaches there. So there are still a lot of vaccine preparedness issues that communities need to be engaged in. Even as we push for more production of vaccines. Even as we push for more accountability mechanisms at the top in vaccine production and distribution, we also need to prepare the communities to equally emit the supply when the vaccine gets down on the ground. We will still have instances where we
Maaza Seyoum 1:03:09
I would just like to ask everyone to be muted, please, if you’re not talking, I can hear something in the background. So please mute yourself. Sorry, when Onesmus. Go ahead.
Onesmus Kalama 1:03:18
Thank you. So I’m saying we are still seeing instances where communities are misinformed because of a lot of the misinformation circulating in social media about vaccines that these vaccines intend to finish the African race. They intend to limit people’s reproductive cycles. And then they are intended to do X, Y, Z., Which means inflammation takes root very quickly. So we have taken into the space to ensure that we prepare our communities to ensure that committee preparedness for the vaccine is top-notch. When the full swing of the vaccine comes into our space, the uptake will measure that. So we’ve been doing quite a lot of webinars on vaccine preparedness in Anglophone Africa, just to prepare communities for the uptake of vaccines. And in the current ongoing COVID-19 and response mechanism fund requests by a country coordinating mechanisms, we support communities to ensure that they are writing table and as governments are preparing this fund requested by the Global Fund. What are the community interventions that needed to go side by side with what the government is requesting? The government is likely to be going for PPEs most of the time that they will be buying masks for frontline workers. They will provide oxygen that will create an infrastructure to distribute vaccines, but then what’s the role of communities to ensure that there is demand for uptake of these interventions that the government is putting in place? So this is what we have been doing? And so far, we’ve worked. We have supported over 11 countries to civil society to participate in the fund request effectively. For window one and window two, we’re still stepping up the pressure for civil society to engage effectively linking them to Technical Account Management (TAM) service providers for window three and window four to ensure that the toolset voice communities are adequately taken into consideration when countries are applying for the COVID-19 response mechanism fund requests. So we are doing quite a lot of this work together. And that is quite a lot of leakage that we do with the regional economic bloc’s. Our secretary happened to be in Tanzania. And I had Mandipa saying that yes, Tanzania is another story. You’re very right. Tanzania was another story. But that story is changing very fast. I think the change of leadership is breeding a fresh wave of new entrants. We are seeing people now becoming more proactive on COVID and mitigation measures. The new President is taking the bull by the horn. Now, we are not seeing the laxity that we used to see people not wearing masks. It is now becoming almost mandatory in all public places that people should wear masks. And in as much as vaccines had not landed in Tanzania, I’m not seeing it taking long.
Vaccines should land in Tanzania very soon. So I think this is a very opportune time, whereby we should be able to prepare the ground in a country like Tanzania because earlier in the first Global Fund fund request, Tanzania was very silent on the issues of COVID-19. But now, there is an entire COVID-19 response mechanism team putting up a proposal to the Global Fund for the COVID-19 fund request. So I think Tanzania now is becoming much riper for coordinating interventions. And we are engaging very, very strategically in Tanzania. We have held about three meetings with the government and civil society, and communities in Tanzania to shape the fund request to the Global Fund for COVID-19. So probably, I will stop there. Because there’s quite a lot probably I could speak, I’m conversant of time. I just want to say that EANNASO has a huge regional network and connection of civil society across all Anglophone Africa. And besides the Global Fund work, of course, we are doing quite a lot of advocacy issues that border around the domestic resource mobilisation, research and development to ensure that we’re setting up the relevant and represents information that they can use for advocacy. Thank you very much. And I will be ready to pick any question or any clarification that I may need to make. Thank you.
Maaza Seyoum 1:08:01
Thank you so much. That was fantastic. I am aware of time, and I’d like to give a few minutes, in the end, to talk about the open letter is something that we need to agree on as a group if we want to go forward with that. Onesmus, I think you have agreed to join the steering committee for the People’s Vaccine Alliance, Africa. I hope that I understood correctly. We’d be very excited to have you there with the broad reach that you cover. And so I would just like to leave a few minutes to talk about that open letter. But before we do that, do we have any questions for Onesmus? Onesmus if I’ve just volunteered you without your knowledge? I apologise. But we would love to have you on the steering committee for the People’s Vaccine Alliance Africa.
I have signed in.
Excellent. Thank you. Thank you so much. So maybe we’ll allow two or three questions if there are any questions about the work that our comrade has just described. I don’t see any hands up. The good thing is that once we have the steering committee up and running, we have all our communication mechanisms up and running, such as the WhatsApp group and the Google Docs. So that is the Google Doc is a delay on my part, the WhatsApp group, we do need your numbers. So I see some people have dropped them in the chat. Please remember if you are going on to the MailChimp, which we would encourage and that way we’ll know the MailChimp has that link that I showed you where if you click on it, you can just tick off where you would like to be focused, you know, do you want to be in the steering committee? Do you want to receive updates from African Alliance? Do you want updates on the African Vaccine Delivery Alliance? So it makes it easier to streamline. So I’d encourage you to go there and enter your phone number with your country code for now. The numbers I do have I will just include you immediately on the WhatsApp group. If you would like to be removed, you can do that. I think you were quite thorough, Onesmus. I don’t see any questions for you. I don’t see any hands up. And if that’s the case, maybe we can just go ahead and hear any comments concerns questions about the letter that we had discussed having a letter from civil society across Africa, targeted at the European governments and pointing out the colonial tendencies that they’re still clutching on to in 2021, and how those relate to COVID-19 issues of rollout and manufacturing, etc. And that’s something that if we agree that we would like to go forward, we will ask the people who are in the drafting committee and the steering committee to do the first check of that. Then we would send it around for the other organisations to provide edits and sign on to any comments, questions, concerns about that civil society letter? Oh, I see one hand here. I do see a hand. Excuse me. Let me just – talking permitted. Here you go. Mamofuta Kale, please tell us where you’re from? And is your question for EANNASO? Or is it about the open letter to the Europeans?
Mamofuta Kale 1:11:21
Thank you so much. Hello. Thank you, I am Mamofuta Kale from Lesotho, and I am working for SAfAIDS. So I’m hearing you talking about a steering committee over and over, and I think I have an interest. So I want to know whether there’s a criterion because I feel like our country is left behind on this campaign and other things. So I think it would also be important for us to be part of the campaign,
Maaza Seyoum 1:11:52
We would be thrilled to have you both as a member of the People’s Vaccine Alliance if SAfAIDS is interested and part of the steering committee. So I will be sending out the link again for people to sign up. So that’s that link that I showed where you just click on and specify, do you want to be a member of the People’s Vaccine Alliance officially? That way, we’ll get the paperwork to you. Everybody that’s in this group is welcome to join these monthly meetings. We have them on the final Thursday of every month. That’s for civil society organisations, people and their allies working in Africa on issues of vaccine equity and access for those organisations that would like to join the People’s Vaccine Alliance; officially, that is an option. And then, there is a small steering committee that we would like to set up for the work in Africa. So that would be a People’s Vaccine Alliance steering committee to draft the African Charter for COVID-19. To do the drafting also of this open letter. I see a few notes here of people agreeing that it’s a good idea. Thank you, Sally. And that, if we did it, we need to do it soon. So we’re talking about that first week of June for the week of action. Unless there any major objections will probably go ahead with starting to draft that any. Let me ask it this way. Does anybody have any concerns about this letter to the Europeans? No, I think everyone, everyone is happy. Okay, good. So any other final points? I know that Viv has the results of the poll. We still have about 12 minutes remaining. Any additional points that people would like to bring up about anything that we’ve discussed today, the work of the People’s vaccine Alliance, the activities that different comrades have been conducting the work that is planned going forward the week of action? I know that people are always very curious about AVADA, so Tian Johnson, while we have you on, maybe you could give a quick update on the African Vaccine Delivery Alliance.
Tian Johnson 1:14:07
Cool, thanks, Maaza. I’m just putting a link in the chat where you can get more information. But a brief overview is that in January, a body called the AVAT The African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, which you recall, had secured the 270 million vaccine doses initially with another 400 million doses for African countries with at least 50 million being available. Between April and June 2021, x was a body called AVAT responsible for procuring the vaccines. Once the vaccines have been procured, there’s a need to get them delivered and to ensure that they move from the fridge into arms as soon as possible. So a body called the African Vaccine Delivery Alliance or AVADA was established by the head of the African CDC, John Nkengasong. And it was really important for us at the outset to ensure that civil society and community engagement was not left out.
In all of the discussions we’d had prior, it focused on logistics and the technicalities of getting the product from point A to point B. But we had kept on saying that there’s a need to create a space to ensure that communities are engaged across the continent. So AVADA was established, myself from the African Alliance and Dr Monique Wasunna from Nairobi, the National disease and infectious Research Unit, was appointed as co-chairs. So we co-chair AVADA. We’d love to make the circle bigger to ensure that we report back to civil society every time we attend meetings. So if you’re in any way interested in what is happening at the African Union and the African CDC, specifically with regards to vaccine delivery, that’s logistics, manufacturing, and community engagement, as well as communications across the region. Please do follow that link that I’ve shared in the chat. You can see who the current leadership is, and some text these basically on the structure, and more importantly, perhaps you can sign up to ensure that you get our regular updates, etc. Thanks, everyone. And we are looking forward to having you onboard.
Maaza Seyoum 1:16:30
Thank you, Tian. And there’s a question here from Mandipa: I heard that countries are not signing up for doses from AVAT. How true is that?
Tian Johnson 1:16:41
So we have robust engagement from all member states of the African Union. And we do have a dashboard. I will share that in the chat. You can go in and have a look and see your particular country. The various indicators that we’ve included for countries are the COVID allocation, the average allocation, the bilateral allocation, and some country cases indicating their mid to long-term plans. Of course, this dashboard is populated by member states. There are limits to what data we have access to. But in addition to that, a key activity that we will be launching in the next few weeks is the solidarity packet. This is a solidarity package that will be made available at no cost to civil society across Africa that will contain three components. The first component would be to build the technical skillset within civil society to monitor access. So in-country and in your region, whatever you’ve been told by leadership is happening regarding access. Are there priority groups, are there no priority groups, who will get the vaccine first, who should get the vaccine at different stages of the rollout? So we will create a package of technical
skills to support civil society to monitor and document how is access happening. The second pillar, we’ll be looking at vaccine hesitancy and misinformation, which is a critical component of all of our rollouts, ensures that communities have access to clear information and mechanisms to counter false narratives and fake news around vaccine safety efficacy and quality. And then the third pillar of our work that we share is really around building vaccine confidence to ensure that the communities are not only aware of the vaccine but confident in getting the vaccine and knowing that for every single person we vaccinate, we reduce the chance of continuing the pandemic and also the risk of new variants coming up.
Maaza Seyoum 1:18:42
Thank you, Tian. Mamofuta Kale, do you have another question? I see your hand is still up, or have you just not brought it down yet?
No, no, dear.
Okay, all right. Joab Okanda from Oxfam. I see your hand is up.
Joab Okanda 1:19:06
Thank you. Thanks, Maaza. I think for me, it’s just to say that for the week of action, if anyone is planning something at a country level, please go ahead. The open letter is what we are doing as a collective. But if you are planning any of the activities, for example, you want to organise a protest at a German Embassy blocking a trips waiver. Please go ahead. And we’re happy to support with messaging with some statistics. So feel free to reach out and share the plans you have at the country level. You can also work with influentials in your countries to write opinion pieces and think about countries blocking the trips waiver.
Maaza Seyoum 1:20:00
Thank you, Joab. And when I send the PowerPoint presentation from today around, you’ll see the different kinds of pieces that have been written, at least in Europe and in North America, you know, the various actions that have been done. But Joab is absolutely right. As we talked about, the targets are those countries that need to be shamed, Germany, Norway, the UK, France, Canada. And if there is an appetite for holding a protest in your country, please, please, you know, go ahead, reach out. If there is something that you want to do, and you think you need support from the People’s Vaccine Alliance has a very small sum of money a bit available for these types of activities. I know that some of the international NGOs, like Oxfam and others, have some funding available.
For example, in March, some country collaborators and other countries wanted to have banners that they could hold in front of the different pharmaceutical companies for the day of action. And the People’s Vaccine Alliance provided funding for those kinds of things like banners, posters, or stuff like that. We will also, I hope, provide you with some social media messaging for that week of action. So tweetstorms, you know, with people who you can target in the tweets. Joab, for example, had said, Why don’t we tweet at the French President? You know, so the People’s Vaccine Alliance has been very good about that in the past, sort of picking occasions and developing a set of tweets, that as long as a lot of people are tweeting with the hashtag can gather some attention. If you do activities, please try and get somebody to take photos to share them and amplify them on various social media feeds. And the People’s Vaccine Alliance can also post them on their website too. They’re doing a website revamp at the moment. So if there’s anything that you think of that you’re wondering, can the People’s Vaccine Alliance support this, is their messaging? Please feel free to reach out Joab is on the steering committee. And you can always reach out to me, and I can point your query in the right direction. We’re almost done. We only have three minutes. So Viv, go ahead and share the poll results just in case people are curious about the poll. As I said, I will be adding any numbers that I have into the WhatsApp group. If you would like not to be included, please just remove yourselves. But I would implore you to please go onto the link in the reports or that I have just shared here in the chat to sign up for the various groups you want to be a part of. Do you want to receive updates on AVDA? Would you like your organisation to be a member of the People’s Vaccine Alliance? Would you like to be on the steering committee? Would you like to be on the WhatsApp group that would help us to keep track of the contacts? I will set up the google doc, and that way, people can dump documents there. But I think that WhatsApp is the easiest thing going forward. So here we have the results. We have only 8% of the participants in their countries have the Sorry; I’m not reading this correctly from our poll. 89% of our respondents, but it’s hard to do respondents with such a short with such a small number. So we do have the majority of countries that have started vaccine rollouts. Most people have not received a COVID-19 vaccine. Some everybody a lot of people know at least some but somebody who’s received a vaccine. Most people will receive the vaccine when it’s available. And here, in terms of where people get their information, that is just to help the People’s Vaccine Alliance because they are kind of Twitter focus. So they’re curious to find out if other social media outlets are more of interest. And we will be in touch with you for future questions I have. I wanted to talk about the African Charter, and I realised that we just completely slipped my mind. Tian, can you say two words about the African Charter and COVID-19? Before we wrap up?
Tian Johnson 1:24:17
Yes, Maaza, I might go for three. I’ve already gone through a few more. So as part of this x and African statement and position on COVID-19. We have begun with a writing team and a smaller group comprised of some members of the steering committee, who put together a draft of the African Charter on COVID-19. It will not only be focused on vaccines, it will also be focusing on a broad range of socio-economic issues, including manufacturing access. What does international and global solidarity look like? What does it mean in the context of decolonisation of the health sector, etc, etc. So we’re wrapping up the draft this first week. We look forward to sharing it with everyone who has signed up and ticked that box of interest and hopefully bringing it to a final draft in the next few weeks. So do stay tuned on that. And that will be an Africa wide charter on COVID-19. The signup link is the same. So there’s one signup link for everything. You just indicate at the bottom what your specific area of focus is. Everyone will have access to the final draft, but if you did want to get on board with the writing team, indicate that on your signup form. Thanks, Maaza.
Maaza Seyoum 1:25:36
Thank you, Tian. And as we said, being an official member of the People’s Vaccine Alliance is not required. But if your organisation does become an official member, you will be included in all the communications from PVA global and invited to the bi-weekly meetings. If that’s something that would be of interest to your organisation, you’re very welcome. That is also included in the link. But I think we are done for today. We’re right on time. We appreciate you. Please already flag the last Thursday in June. For the next meeting, we’ve agreed that we will be meeting monthly. So the final Thursday, in June, just look for that on your calendar and flag it. I’m looking at the date here as I speak to you, if I’m not mistaken, that would be the 24th of June. So it’s going to be at the same time, which is 3:30 pm. Nairobi, please just save the date on your calendar, and you will receive a calendar invites and a link a couple of weeks before, but we appreciate you. Thank you so much in solidarity and hopes for a COVID-19 vaccine available for all. Have a good rest of your week. Thank you so much, everybody. Thanks