Global faith leaders have today (27 April) united to call for the steps necessary to produce and distribute enough Covid vaccine for the entire global population.
Urging leaders around the world to reject greed and vaccine nationalism, 145 religious leaders including Cardinal Peter Turkson from the Catholic Church, former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams and Dr Thabo Makgoba, the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, have released the statement as part of a campaign, which is also supported by the Dalai Lama.
It makes the moral case that it is not right that countries in the global north are hoarding vaccines while low- and middle-income countries are barely getting any doses. They also recognised the pressing need for global vaccine production to be urgently and massively ramped up and for countries to release their excess doses.
The call comes as part of action from the People’s Vaccine Alliance, a coalition of organisations and activists campaigning for a ‘people’s vaccine’ for Covid-19, which would be based on shared knowledge and freely available to everyone everywhere.
The call for a People’s Vaccine is already backed by past and present world leaders, health experts, and economists.
In a statement released today, global faith leaders have said: “As religious leaders, we have witnessed the personal stories behind the Covid statistics - we have, every day, heard the cries, shared with us, of the suffering, the frightened, and the bereaved. We have witnessed too the profound love shown by those working at the frontline, and by those who have reached out to help their neighbours.”
Fionna Smyth, head of global advocacy and policy at Christian Aid, said on behalf of the People’s Vaccine Alliance: “We know that our best chance of all staying safe is to ensure Covid-19 vaccines are available for all as a global common good as soon as possible. This will only be possible with a transformation in how vaccines are produced and distributed — pharmaceutical corporations must allow the Covid-19 vaccines to be produced as widely as possible by sharing their knowledge free from patents.
“Instead they are protecting their monopolies and putting up barriers to restrict production and drive up prices, leaving us all in danger. No one company can produce enough for the whole world. So long as vaccine solutions are kept under lock and key, there won’t be enough to go around. We need a People’s Vaccine, not a profit vaccine.
“The failure to provide vaccine equity to some of the poorest and most marginalised communities around the world is a moral issue, which the world must face up to. So we are deeply encouraged that leaders of the world’s major faith traditions have joined us in calling for a People’s Vaccine.”
The religious leaders’ statement added: “The Covid crisis has reminded us all of our interdependence, and of our responsibilities to care for one another. We can each only be well, when all of us are well. If one part of the world is left to suffer the pandemic, all parts of the world will be put at ever-increasing risk.
“The access of people to life-saving Covid-19 vaccines cannot be dependent on people’s wealth, status, or nationality. We cannot abdicate our responsibilities to our brothers and sisters by imagining that the market can be left to resolve the crisis, or pretend to ourselves that our country has no obligation to people in their country. Every person is precious. We all have a moral obligation to reach everyone.”
They added: “This unprecedented public health crisis calls, above all, for global solidarity, for all people to stand together as brothers and sisters. The same spirit of unity and common purpose that has driven scientists to develop Covid-19 vaccines at breathtaking speed, that drives the care of those tending to the sick, must also inspire the leaders of government, civil society and the private sector to massively ramp up vaccine production so there are sufficient doses for every person in the world to be vaccinated.
“We call on all leaders to reject vaccine nationalism and embrace a commitment to global vaccine equity. “As religious leaders, we join our voices to the call for vaccines that are made available to all people as a global common good – a People’s Vaccine. This is the only way to end the pandemic.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
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About the People's Vaccine Alliance
The People's Vaccine Alliance is a coalition of organisations and activists united under a common aim of campaigning for a 'people's vaccine' for COVID-19. This would be based on shared knowledge and freely available to everyone everywhere -- a global common good. The alliance's members include Free the Vaccine, Global Justice Now, Public Citizen, Christian Aid, the Yunus Centre, Frontline AIDS, Amnesty International, Oxfam, SumOfUs and UNAIDS. The call for a #PeoplesVaccine is backed by past and present world leaders, health experts, faith leaders and economists. For more information, visit https://peoplesvaccine.org/
Full faith leaders' letter, including signatories:
World Religious Leaders Call for a People's Vaccine\ As religious leaders, we have witnessed the personal stories behind the Covid statistics - we have, every day, heard the cries, shared with us, of the suffering, the frightened, and the bereaved.\ We have witnessed too the profound love shown by those working at the frontline, and by those who have reached out to help their neighbours.\ The Covid crisis has reminded us all of our interdependence, and of our responsibilities to care for one another. We can each only be safe when all of us are safe. If one part of the world is left to suffer the pandemic, all parts of the world will be put at ever-increasing risk.\ The access of people to life-saving Covid-19 vaccines cannot be dependent on people's wealth, status, or nationality. We cannot abdicate our responsibilities to our sisters and brothers by imagining that the market can be left to resolve the crisis or pretend to ourselves that we have no obligation to others in our shared humanity. Every person is precious. We have a moral obligation to reach everyone, in every country.\ Right now, despite the incredible success in developing so many safe and effective vaccines in record time, and the relief of seeing them being rolled out, with deaths starting to decline as a result, it pains us greatly that access to the vaccines is so inequitable. Rich countries have been able to ramp up vaccination efforts and secure doses whilst in most low- and middle-income countries vaccines are only beginning to trickle in. At the current pace of vaccine production and distribution, people in much of the world may not be vaccinated until at least 2024. The consequences for the poorest individuals, families, and communities, will be devastating.\ Neglect would undermine the dignity not only of those left behind, but also of those who have left them behind.\ This unprecedented public health crisis calls, above all, for global solidarity, for all people to stand together as brothers and sisters. The same spirit of unity and common purpose that has driven scientists to develop Covid-19 vaccines at breathtaking speed, that drives the care of those tending to the sick, must also inspire the leaders of government, civil society and the private sector to massively ramp up vaccine production so there are sufficient doses for every person in the world to be vaccinated.\ We call on all leaders to reject vaccine nationalism and embrace a commitment to global vaccine equity.\ As religious leaders, we join our voices to the call for vaccines that are made available to all people as a global common good -- a People's Vaccine. This is the only way to end the pandemic.\ Let us work together to build a more just and peaceful world.\ To love is to take action.
1. Rev. Adam Russell Taylor, President, Sojourners\ 2. Imam Ahmed Ghanem, Göteborg mosque, Gothenburg, Sweden\ 3. The Most Revd Dr Albert Chama, Archbishop of Central Africa and Chair of the Anglican Alliance\ 4. Adrian Cristea, Executive Officer, Dublin City Inter-faith Forum\ 5. Ann Scholz, SSND, Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR)\ 6. His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos, Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London\ 7. Anthony Nanson\ 8. Avera Health\ 9. Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp, Netherlands\ 10. Fr. Bernhard Bürgler SJ - Provincial of the Austrian Province of the Society of Jesus\ 11. Blessing Makwara, General Secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe\ 12. The Revd Canon Bob Fyffe, General Secretary, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland\ 13. Rabbi Bonnie Margulis, President of the Board at Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice\ 14. Rev. Brian D. McLaren, USA\ 15. Brigid Lawlor, Province Advocacy Liaison, Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, US Provinces\ 16. The Rev. Cn. Bruce W. Woodcock, Asia and the Pacific Partnership Officer for the Episcopal Church\ 17. Carolyn Lawrence, Vice-President of the Methodist Conference\ 18. Rev. Charles Berahino, Executive Secretary for Peace and Diakonia at the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC)\ 19. Rev. Chris Hudson, Moderator, Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church in Ireland\ 20. Christopher Cox\ 21. The Rev. Christopher Frye, St. Luke Evangelical Lutheran Church, Chambersburg, PA\ 22. Revd Clare Downing, Moderator of General Assembly, United Reformed Church\ 23. The Rev. Clelia P. Garrity, LCSW, Diocesan Missioner for Global Refuge Missions\ 24. Rev. Colin Holtz, President, Faithful America Board of Directors\ 25. Commissioner Anthony Cotterill, Salvation Army Territorial Commander, United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland\ 26. Revd Duncan Dormor, General Secretary, USPG\ 27. Fr Damian Howard SJ\ 28. Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, Scholar in Residence, National Council of Jewish Women\ 29. Bishop David Musumba, Free Pentecostal Fellowship in Kenya\ 30. Rev. Derrick Jones, Supervisor of RCA Mission programs in Africa\ 31. Dominican Sisters, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA\ 32. Rev Dyfrig Rees, General Secretary of the Union of Welsh Independents\ 33. Eddy Ruble, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship\ 34. Edwin Graham, Coordinator, Northern Ireland Inter-faith Forum\ 35. Sister Eileen Gannon, Sparkill, NY\ 36. Elijah M. Brown, General Secretary, Baptist World Alliance\ 37. Emmanuel Ahua\ 38. Sr. Emily TeKolste, SP, Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice\ 39. Rev. Erik Oland S.J., Provincial - Jesuits of Canada\ 40. Esther Mombo\ 41. Franck Janin, President, Jesuit Conference of European Provincials\ 42. Franciscan Action Network\ 43. Rev. Fredrick Gilbert\ 44. Gustavo Calderón, S.J. Provincial de Ecuador - COMPAÑIA DE JESÚS\ 45. Hazel Loney, Lay Leader, Methodist Church in Ireland\ 46. Haider Ibrahim, Chairman, Islamic Shia communities in Sweden\ 47. Rev. Hodari Williams, New Life Church, Atlanta, Georgia, USA\ 48. Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, Imam\ 49. Very Revd Dr Ivan Patterson, President, Irish Council of Churches\ 50. Rabbi Jacob Siegel\ 51. The Rev. James L. Reisner\ 52. Fr. Jan Roser SJ, Provincial\ 53. Sr. Jane Herb, IHM Sisters of Monroe, Michigan - President\ 54. Jason Miller, Franciscan Action\ 55. Javier Perez, Director of Global Missions Programs & Impact, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship\ 56. Rev Jennifer Butler, Faith in Public Life\ 57. Rev Dr Jennie Hurd, Chair of the Methodist Church Cymru Synod\ 58. Jennifer Lau - Executive Director, Canadian Baptist Ministries\ 59. P. Jesus Zaglul, Casa Generalicia de los jesuitas, Roma\ 60. Jim Winkler, President, National Council of Churches\ 61. Sr. Joan Mumaw IHM\ 62. John Celichowski, OFM Cap., NAPCC Novitiate, Santa Ynez, CA\ 63. Rev. John Chan, Canadian Baptist Ministries\ 64. The Most Reverend John Davies, Archbishop of Wales\ 65. Most Revd John McDowell, Archbishop of Armagh, Church of Ireland\ 66. Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism\ 67. Rev. Canon Joseph P Collins\ 68. The Most Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion\ 69. The Rev'd Fr. Johannes Mokgethi-Heath, Act Church of Sweden\ 70. Rev. Julia Bowering, Canadian Baptist Ministries\ 71. Rev Judith Morris, General Secretary of the Union of Welsh Baptists\ 72. Judith Toner, member NY State UCC Global Ministries Committee\ 73. Judy Byron, OP, Inter-Community Peace & Justice Center, Seattle, Washington, USA\ 74. D. Kang-San Tan, BMS World Mission\ 75. Pastor Kay Woike, Church of the Nativity, United Church Of Christ\ 76. Ven. Kofi deGraft-Johnson, CAPA Secretariat, Nairobi, Kenya\ 77. Dr. Krish Kandiah, Greater Good Global\ 78. Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Former Senior Rabbi, Reform Judaism\ 79. Dr. Lauren Jinshil Oliver, founder, CirclesWork.net\ 80. Lawrence Couch, National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd\ 81. Lawrence Gilley, United Church of Christ, Deansboro, New York, USA\ 82. Dr. Lesmore Gibson, All Africa Conference of Churches\ 83. The Most Reverence Archbishop Linda Nicholls, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada\ 84. Louise Hannem, Canadian Baptist Ministries\ 85. Janice Tsang, Co-convenor of the Anglican Health & Community Network (AHCN)\ 86. Lucas Lopez Perez SJ, del equipo de la Conferencia de Provinciales Jesuitas de Amerrica Latina y el Caribe\ 87. Rev. Luis Cortes, Jr. President Emeritus Hispanic Clergy, President & CEO, Esperanza\ 88. Rt Revd Luke Pato, Bishop of Namibia and Co-Convenor of the Anglican Health & Community Network\ 89. Friar Marco Moroni, Sacro Convento of Assisi\ 90. Most Rev Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church\ 91. Right Reverend Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland\ 92. Mary Ellen Holohan,Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, Member of Congregational Leadership Team\ 93. Rt Revd Dr Michael Beasley, Bishop of Hertford and Co-Convener of Anglican Health & Community Network\ 94. Archbishop Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte OFM\ 95. Mohamed Temsamani, Chairman of United Islamic Associations of Sweden\ 96. Archbishop Mouneer Anis\ 97. Margaret Rose, The Episcopal Church\ 98. Marie Dennis, Pax Christi International\ 99. Rev. Dr. Martin Junge, General Secretary, Lutheran World Federation\ 100. Mary J. Novak, Executive Director, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice\ 101. Rev. Maxwell Doss - General Secretary, National Christian Council of Sri Lanka\ 102. Merritt Johnston, Baptist World Alliance\ 103. Rev. Nathan Empsall, Executive Director of Faithful America\ 104. Nathan Jones, Oasis Waterloo\ 105. Nick Park, Executive Director, Evangelical Alliance Ireland\ 106. Rabbi Nora Feinstein\ 107. Patricia Millen, Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia\ 108. Bishop Paul Horan, Diocese of Mutare, Zimbabwe\ 109. Paul Parker, Quakers in Britain\ 110. Peter Pay, Moderator of General Assembly, United Reformed Church\ 111. Sister Pegge Boehm, PBVM, Sisters of the Presentation of the BVM of Aberdeen SD\ 112. Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect, Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development\ 113. Sister Quincy Howard, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice\ 114. Rev. Randy Stanton\ 115. Rebecca Linder Blachly, Director, The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations\ 116. Revd Richard Teal, President of the Methodist Conference\ 117. Richard Walters, The Pension Boards-United Church of Christ, Inc.\ 118. Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President, Union for Reform Judaism\ 119. Roberto Jaramillo Bernal, S.J., Presidente de la Conferencia de Provincias, Jesuitas de America Latina y El Caribe\ 120. Sr. Rose Marie Jasinski, CBS\ 121. Dr. Rowan Williams, UK\ 122. Sacro Convento of Assisi\ 123. Rt Revd Sarah Groves, Moravian Church\ 124. Rev. Fr. Seamus Finn OMI, Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate- US Province\ 125. Sheila Katz, CEO National Council of Jewish Women, USA\ 126. Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice\ 127. Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth Leadership\ 128. Sisters of Mercy of the Americas - Justice Team\ 129. Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace\ 130. Rev. S.J.Wilson, Atlanta GA\ 131. Rev. Dr. Stephen Wigley, Chair of the Wales Synod of the Methodist Church\ 132. Susan Gunn, MaryKnoll Office for Global Concerns\ 133. Rabbi Suzan E. Lipson\ 134. Rev. Sylvestre BIZIMANA, General Secretary, National Council of Churches of Burundi\ 135. Dr. Tarunjit Singh Butalia, Executive Director, Religions for Peace USA\ 136. Fr. Ted Penton, SJ, Secretary of Justice and Ecology, Jesuit Conference of Canada and the US\ 137. The Most Revd Dr Thabo Cecil Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town\ 138. Rev Dr Tom McKnight, President, Methodist Church in Ireland\ 139. Bishop Venson Shava\ 140. Vicky Heslop, Jampa Ling Tibetan Buddhist Centre\ 141. Wanda M Lundy, Siloam-Hope First Presbyterian Church/ New York Theological Seminary\ 142. Rev. Wayne A. Laws, Minister of Social Justice & Mission at Mountain View United Church\ 143. Bishop William Crean, Bishop of Cloyne and Chair of the Trócaire Board of Directors\ 144. Xavier Jeyaraj SJ, Secretary for Social Justice and Ecology, Curia Generalizia, Rome\ 145. Dr. Zahid Bukhari, Executive Director, Center for Islam and Public Policy