Retired Constitutional Court justice Edwin Cameron, known for his gay rights and antiretroviral activism, told a webinar that “hard-core anti-vaxxers in South Africa are similar to the Aids denialists”.
Speaking at an online event on COVID-19 and human rights organised by Daily Maverick, he said just like Aids denialists, anti-vaxxers push theories that there is “no virus”, or that it is “not significant”, or that life-saving drugs are “toxic”. “That is, of course, all rubbish,” said Cameron, endorsing the views of fellow panellist Professor Salim Abdool Karim, head of Aids research centre Caprisa at the University of KZN, who said mandatory vaccination should go ahead in many sectors.
According to a Sunday Times Daily report, Abdool Karim said: “We have several settings that carry a particularly high risk where I believe vaccines need to be made mandatory.” Cameron added: “I want to endorse what Slim is saying, but I want to take it further and say make it law.
“The law is a teacher, it is a norm that embodies a standard, and when we say let’s make vaccines compulsory, we are not talking about armed people going from door to door with jabs. No. It’s about creating a legal norm. We are saying use the law as a medium of instruction and guidance and encouragement.” He compared the situation with what happened with seat belts.
“It took people time to understand,” he said. “You have a right to spill your brains on the windscreen, but what about the cost to public health when you have to be taken for emergency care? That is why seat belts were made mandatory and now all people accept that the police can fine you for not wearing one.”
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