8th May 2021
Pope Francis joins with President Joe Biden, in calling for urgent action to ensure the world’s most vulnerable communities get swifter access to lifesaving Covid-19 vaccines. In his latest statement he tells rich nations to enable the waiving of intellectual property rights to the vaccines to ensure that there is a just and fair distribution.
CAFOD director, Christine Allen, says:
“With the messages from Pope Francis and President Biden momentum is clearly behind countries doing the right thing and backing a patent waiver. Boris Johnson must support this life-saving call. It is unacceptable for the UK government to import 10 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca from the Serum Institute in India, while also opposing calls for patent-free Covid vaccines.
“We cannot stand by and watch the world’s poorest continue to suffer sickness, bereavement and economic devastation. The crisis in India is just one shocking example of the devastation coronavirus wreaks on communities and how much poverty compounds that.
“Pope Francis makes it clear that it is a moral imperative that rich countries share their vaccine science and know-how, so that lives can be saved.
“At the G7 summit in Cornwall, we are campaigning for debt cancellation owed by countries in the global south, giving those countries the opportunity to invest in better healthcare, including supplies of these vital vaccines.”
The Pope’s calls are the latest in an ongoing global campaign for vaccine justice. Last month CAFOD joined over 100 religious leaders and faith-based aid agencies, as part of the People’s Vaccine Alliance, calling for vaccine production to be ramped up so there are sufficient doses for every person in the world.
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Notes to editors:
The full interfaith statement from the People’s Vaccine Alliance https://cafod.org.uk/News/Press-office/Press-releases/Religious-leaders-vaccine-call
Read more on our G7 campaign: https://cafod.org.uk/News/Press-office/Press-releases/G7-young-campaigners
CAFOD is the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, and part of Caritas International. We reach out to people living in poverty with practical help, whatever their religion or culture. Help us build a world where no one is beyond reach of the love and care they need.