ACTIONAID Zambia says the illegal importation of fake Covid-19 vaccines is a violation of the right to life of citizens and the right to health, adding that those involved should be prosecuted.

In a statement, Friday, Actionaid Zambia Country director Nalucha Ziba said she was appalled that Chrismar Earthmoving Equipment imported fake Covid-19 vaccines despite not being a registered pharmaceutical company.

“ActionAid Zambia has noted with concern the revelations by The Zambia Medicine Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) on the imported fake COVID-19 vaccines by Chrismar Earthmoving Equipment which were scheduled for supply to the Ministry of Health. We call for urgent action on this matter because of its threat to the health and life of the Zambian citizens. The illegal importation of Fake COVID 19 Vaccines is a violation of the right to life of citizens as well as the right to health. The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) expressly recognizes the right to health as a Human Right. The right to health includes adequate access to health facilities and quality medicines thus the importation of fake vaccines is a gross violation of this right,” read the statement.

“We are appalled that the entity that illegally imported the fake vaccines, is not a registered pharmaceutical company and has no license in dealing in the supply of medicines as per Section 33 of the medicines and allied substances act of 2013 which states that “A person shall not manufacture, distribute or deal in any medicine or allied substance without a pharmaceutical licence.””

She called for the prosecution of those involved in the violation of the law.

“The mere importation of these substances is also a violation of the law as stated in Section 59 of the same Act which prohibits anyone from importing or distributing illegal drugs. The law further provides for the prosecution of any person that contravenes this section of the law. As a Human Rights Organization that advances for a just, equitable and sustainable Zambia in which every person enjoys the right to a life of dignity. We call on the relevant law enforcement agencies to thoroughly investigate and prosecute those involved in the violation of the law and deprivation of citizens’ Right to Health and Life,” she said.

Meanwhile, Ziba called on the Ministry of Health to conduct a background check on all imported drugs in the last six months.

“We further call on the Ministry of Health to strengthen its mechanisms on the importation of drugs in the country and to conduct a background check on all imported drugs in the last Six (6) months. We also call for the transparent sharing of information with the public on the progression of this case to ensure that we do not affect the COVID-19 vaccine program which remains critical in our national response to the pandemic,” stated Ziba.