COVID Petition update
No-one is safe until everyone is safe
For the vaccination programme to truly succeed a substantial portion of the world’s population will need to be vaccinated. While scientists are still uncertain about exact figures, it is worth noting that according to the WHO herd immunity against measles requires about 95% of a population to be vaccinated, for polio about 80%. [i]
Thankfully, the vaccination programme is well underway in the UK, unfortunately, it is a different story across the world.
According to Raymond Perrier of the Denis Hurley Centre in Durban, South Africa,
The pandemic has again highlighted the inequality in our societies: richer countries are stock-piling vaccines while most poorer countries are struggling even for their health workers and most vulnerable. Within South Africa, we are seeing those with private healthcare wanting to push ahead of those reliant on the state. And the state itself needs to be reminded that ‘invisible’ communities like the homeless and refugees can be overlooked but potentially are in greater need of a vaccine than some others. The Church has an important role to play in asserting the equal dignity of all God’s children.
The World Health Organisation has called for a full commitment to global vaccine sharing. In January, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “The world faces a “catastrophic moral failure” because of unequal COVID-19 vaccine policies…” [ii]The Economist recently reported that in poorer economies, widespread vaccination coverage will not be achieved before 2023, if at all. [iii]
Fr Rufaro Admire Nhika SJ shared this account of the situation in Zimbabwe,
“The impact of COVID-19 has led to many people getting to destitution levels…The lockdowns have rendered many jobless. As many survive from hand to mouth, the situation is dire.”
It remains important to keep this issue in the forefront of the minds of our politicians, if we are to avoid what some have termed COVID-19 nationalism.
Fr Védaste Nkeshimana SJ in Burundi, notes,
I know how poor countries are likely to suffer if COVID-19 vaccines are not available in all countries. I call for every person of good will to support the endeavour so that governments may put necessary resources to make the vaccine available for all. For none is safe until everyone is safe.
The UK is proud that it is one of the largest supporters of the UN backed COVAX scheme to distribute vaccines globally. The UK government is providing £548m to the COVAX programme. However, this is not enough. More needs to be done to ensure that there is fair and equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines.
Jesuit Missions urges you to sign our COVID-19 petition today. Your voice helps to change the world by speaking out for the most vulnerable!
[i] WHO, Herd immunity, lockdowns and COVID-19, 31 December 2020
[ii] BBC, COVID-19 vaccine: WHO warns of ‘catastrophic moral failure’, 18th January 2021.
[iii] The Economist, More than 85 poor countries will not have widespread access to coronavirus vaccines before 2023, 27th January 2021