The world's leaders are in search of entry to Covid vaccines for everybody

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(Photo: Unsplash / Spencer Davis)

Faith leaders from around the world are calling for an end to "vaccine nationalism" and the hoarding of vaccines by wealthier countries.

In an open letter, they remind rich countries of their "moral obligation" to ensure that the vaccine can "reach everyone in every country".

"The Covid crisis has reminded us all of our interdependence and our responsibility to care for each other. We can only be safe if we are all safe," the letter said.

"When one part of the world is affected by the pandemic, all parts of the world are at ever greater risk."

The letter was signed by dozens of religious leaders, including Cardinal Peter Turkson, former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, and the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Dr. Thabo Makgoba.

They are calling for a "massive" production of Covid vaccines so that enough can be produced for the entire world population.

The call comes at a time when many countries are grappling with high Covid numbers, like India, which is in a devastating second wave that has overwhelmed hospitals and crematoriums.

However, many low- and middle-income countries have low levels of vaccines, unlike well-stocked countries in the global north that have already administered millions of doses as part of their national vaccine campaigns.

"People's access to life-saving Covid-19 vaccines cannot depend on people's wealth, status or nationality," say the faith leaders.

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"We cannot give up our responsibility to our sisters and brothers by imagining that the market can solve the crisis or by pretending to ourselves that we have no obligation to others in our common humanity."

They add: "This unprecedented public health crisis requires, above all, global solidarity so that all people stand together as brothers and sisters.

"The same spirit of unity and common purpose that has led scientists to create Covid-19 vaccines at breakneck speed that is fueling nursing care must also inspire massive action by government leaders, civil society and the private sector They make vaccines so that everyone in the world has enough doses to be vaccinated. "

The letter was issued as part of a broader campaign by the People & # 39; s Vaccine Alliance, a coalition of organizations and activists campaigning for a “popular vaccine” for Covid-19 that is knowledge-based and freely available to everyone, everywhere .

Fionna Smyth, director of global advocacy and policy at Christian Aid, one of the charities that support the People & # 39; s Vaccine Alliance, said reshaping the way vaccines are made and distributed is needed, with pharmaceutical companies share their knowledge patent-free.

"We know our best chance to stay safe is to make sure Covid-19 vaccines are available to all as soon as possible as a global common good," she said.

She criticized pharmaceutical companies for "protecting their monopolies and erecting barriers to restrict production and raise prices, which puts us all at risk".

"No company can produce enough for the world. As long as the vaccine solutions are kept under lock and key, there isn't enough to get around. We need a popular vaccine, not a commercial vaccine," she said.

"Failure to provide vaccine justice to some of the poorest and most marginalized communities in the world is a moral issue that the world must grapple with."

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