By Benjamin Noria
HAVANA TIMES – Informed consent is the procedure that is used to inform a person selected for a clinical trial about the objectives, benefits, risks, rights and options to get their approval to voluntarily take part in the study.
From what I’ve seen, this informed consent procedure isn’t taking place at vaccine centers for vaccine trial subjects in Cuba. At every session with the UN, the government has said that they respect the Cuban people’s human rights. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
During the time I spent at the vaccine center, I saw over 50 people pass by doctors who welcomed the participants, but nobody informed them about the risks of being injected with these potential vaccines. The participants’ blood pressure was taken, and a brief anamnesis was jotted down, and they were then told to sign a series of forms. Nobody was given an explanation or description (albeit brief) of what the clinical trial was for and its secondary effects.
I didn’t see any Cuban with the chance to exercise their right to reject participation in the clinical trial. Nobody could have doubts for a second and change their mind about getting one of these potential vaccines administered. I didn’t see anyone with the chance to express their wish to choose a different outcome.
I believe that Cubans are going to get injected with a trial vaccine because they are afraid of government reprisals. Nobody is aware of the future consequences of these dubious potential vaccines. Plus, Cubans have the habit of blindly trusting government information, as they have been victims of mind control for over 60 years. They have been trained not to question anything. While the Castro government is the owner of mass media, there will only be one opinion: their own and there’s no room for another.
Luckily, nothing bad has happened yet, and if something had happened, I’m sure that they would have covered it up, and because Cuba doesn’t have freedom of the press or private TV, it’s very easy to misinform the population.
In spite of lessons learned from what happened during the Tuskegee Syphilis Study in the US and the Nuremberg Trials, in Germany, for example, the Cuban government continues to do what’s in their best interests. The Castro government is Cuban absolutism. They don’t give accountability to anyone in the country. The totalitarianism they’ve established here has no bounds. They have transformed vaccine trials into a political show.
Informed consent was established as an international practice for a reason. To respect people’s right to life and their freedom to choose what is right for them. Many wars had to take place in order for the world to conquer these individual, civil and political freedoms that eras of regression and fundamentalist and nationalist countries have denied humans.
Humankind has lived a long history of crimes and painful injustice to be able to understand the benefits that basic rights grant them in preserving their wellbeing.