Photo by Patrick Meinhardt / AFP for Getty Images.

Kenyans Slam BBC Over Controversial COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Comments.

Kenyans Slam BBC Over Controversial COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Comments

The BBC has come under fire after one of their medical correspondents suggested that trials for the COVID-19 vaccine be carried out in Kenya should they fail in the UK.

It seems there is no end to the number of medical professionals from the West wanting to make Africa the testing ground for the COVID-19 vaccine. Recently, a medical correspondent for the BBC suggested that should the vaccine trial not achieve the "expected results" in the UK, Kenya would be the next option. Naturally, the comments have caused considerable backlash among Kenyans on social media.

Speaking on the BBC's World Service, Fergus Walsh said, "We could be careful not to over promise because we are desperate for this vaccine to work but the team in Oxford have a really strong record going back 30 years." Walsh went on to add that, "They have developed successful prototype vaccines against another type of coronavirus, MERS...which has done well in clinical trials, they've also developed vaccines against plague, malaria (now) if they don't get early quick results from the UK they are considering a trial in Kenya where the epidemic of the coronavirus will be on the rise."

The Oxford Vaccine Group at the University of Oxford, which is involved in ongoing vaccine trials, has not responded to Walsh's comments or the subsequent public outcry.

Just last month, two French doctors caused outrage when they suggested on national television that the COVID-19 vaccine trials be carried out on Africans "a bit like as it is done elsewhere for some studies on AIDS."

While the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases on the African continent stands at 27 732 with at least 1298 reported deaths, the West is struggling to get a handle on their numbers. The US has close to 900 000 cases and a little over 50 000 deaths while the UK has surpassed 130 000 cases with over 18 000 deaths.

Here are some of the reactions from Kenyans on social media below:

Image courtesy of Chude Jideonwo

Nigerian Mental Health Advocate Chude Jideonwo Shares Practical Ways Of Coping During COVID

We speak with the founder of Joy Inc. about the mental health challenges facing Nigerians, how many have managed to find effective ways to cope, and the online resources available to the community.

Never in our lifetimes have we experienced a pandemic of this gravity. As COVID-19 cases rise in Nigeria, Nigerians aren't just worried about getting the virus, they are also concerned about a host of other challenges: our lack of efficient and effective healthcare—which is overwhelmed even without a pandemic—the lack of appropriate data, and the high levels of poverty and illiteracy in the country that make it difficult to enforce the strategies that will enable us to handle the pandemic and keep it under control.

In a bid to understand how Nigerians are dealing with mental health challenges now, on the ground, due to the pandemic—which has led to a lockdown restricting movement and also social distancing rules—we spoke with Nigerian journalist, lawyer and mental healthcare advocate Chude Jideonwo, who is the founder of Joy Inc. He shared insights from his experiences with The Joy Inc., which he founded in 2016 to help young people going through mental and emotional challenges. He aimed to help provide young Nigerians with tools to help navigate the world around them.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox


'This Is One Too Many'—African Union Condemns the Murder of George Floyd

"The African Union is distressed to witness yet another unwarranted execution of another African-American male."