Sr. Jecinter Antoinette Okoth, FSSA
As many developed nations in the world role out vaccination program to address Coronavirus pandemic, Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of Catholic relief agencies has called for a fair distribution of Covid-19 vaccines especially to the most vulnerable saying that “nobody should be left out.”
In a statement issued on Friday, February 5, the organization noted that vaccines have become available this year which bringing hope to the people, “but also a wider gap in inequality.”
“The access to vaccines across the world has not been as equitable as it should be. It is sad to note that not all nations and those who want or need the vaccine can get it because of supply issues, while in our interconnected world, the vaccines must be made available equitably,” reads in part the statement signed by President of Caritas Internationalis Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development Peter Cardinal Turkson and the Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis Aloysius John.
“Since every life is inviolable, nobody must be left out. The poor, minorities, refugees, the marginalized are the most exposed to the virus… taking care of them is a moral priority because abandoning them puts them and the global community at risk. Our collective well-being depends on how we care for the least,” the statement reads.
They called on political leaders to be open minded and look beyond the interests of their own nations and political groups since Covid-19 pandemic is “a global human security problem that threatens the whole human family” and narrowing focus to a national strategy “might lead to a moral failure in meeting the needs of the most vulnerable across the globe.”
Caritas Internationalis whose General Secretariat is based in Rome, underscored that vaccine crisis should be seen as a global health situation.
“Many of the least developed nations still lack basic medical infrastructures and the means of storing the vaccines. Moreover, people in distant rural areas are not sensitized and are exposed to other infectious diseases that remain prevalent,” the leadership stated and appealed to the international community to “have a holistic, multi-stakeholder approach to avoid the danger of the pandemic getting out of hand in the Global South which may then lead to a global humanitarian crisis again.”
The organization calls on a Security Council meeting “to address the issue of access to the vaccines as a global security problem with firm political decisions based on multilateralism.”
Concerning sensitization, they have asked for allocation of financial and technical support to the local Civil Society Organizations and Faith-Based Organizations to ensure the preparation of local communities’ awareness and capacity building to prepare them to have access to preventive care.
Furthermore, Caritas Internationalis has asked for promotion of the local production of vaccines in different technical hubs including Africa, requesting that the vaccines be made “available in the next six months by addressing the issue of patent and technical collaboration with the poorer nations.