Consent always required

Back in 1995 I joined thousands of other young South Africans in taking advantage of the new Commonwealth visa to be able to spend a working holiday in the United Kingdom.

We worked an assortment of jobs, from bar staff to construction labour to packing goods in warehouses. The money was good and allowed us to save a bit to travel further.

But there was even better money to be made volunteering for clinical drug trials at one of the pharmaceutical research hospitals in London, like Guy’s. Mostly South Africans went for this, but I also met a few New Zealanders, Australians and a young man from Trinidad.

I remember the trial was for a new slow release version of an anti-inflammatory, and the test group of about 20 in total was divided into two groups, with one taking the old version of the anti-inflammatory and the other the new version for one week, a few days break in between, then returning to hospital and the groups switching doses for week 2.

The staff took blood samples daily and we also had to submit stool samples in the middle of the trial period.

While we were in hospital all our meals were catered for and we had plenty of leisure time to watch videos and play pool. And at the end, we each got a cheque for £1,400. Easy money.

We all freely participated in the trial and we were not the first human test subjects. I recall only one person having any kind of adverse reaction.

In these times we live in I see certain companies are also offering incentives for people to take one of the Covid vaccines. I received a message from Old Mutual the other day telling me if I got vaccinated I could stand a chance of winning a share of R11-million in weekly draws.

I have heard of similar incentives overseas, from being given cash to getting free burgers and fries.

The whole world is in a clinical drug trial of sorts and this is one way of getting people to take part.

But there is also a more concerning push for mandatory vaccinations, where it is no longer a choice. And alarmingly, it is often ordinary people calling for enforced vaccination.

They would do well to familiarise themselves with the bodily integrity clause in the South African constitution, as well as look up the Nuremberg Code which influenced it.

The Nuremberg Code came out of the war crimes tribunal after World War 2 specifically to prevent medical procedures being forced on unwilling human subjects.

– Jon Houzet

OPINION: Mandatory vaccinations in the workplace

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