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South African religious leaders join campaign to push US government to address global vaccine shortage


Religious leaders in South Africa signed a letter on behalf of The People’s Vaccine Campaign Of South Africa that urges the US medical team leading the COVID-19 pandemic response to address the global vaccine shortage, and urges the US government to take specific actions

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Vaccine shortages across South Africa and the Global South will lead to global disaster if access to a vaccine continues to be blocked.

“We are writing to you as a collective of concerned civic organisations, workers formations, and individuals in South Africa,” the letter reads.

“As you aware, in our country like many others in the Global South, the COVID-19 epidemic is out of control.”

The letter points out that South Africa is going to receive a fraction of the vaccines it needs to bring the pandemic under control in the next month.

“Put simply, if nothing significantly changes, the COVID-19 epidemic will continue to ravage our country and other countries, virtually unabated, for the foreseeable future,” reads the letter.

“This dire shortage of vaccine supplies is not due to any inherent technological limitation in scaling up production, but rather a seemingly deliberate decision to not allow production scale up to what the global pandemic requires.”

The world now faces the very real possibility of not achieving global population immunity anytime soon, the letter continues.

“It is clear we have no time to waste, as we understand that the longer it takes to vaccinate the entire world, the harder it will become to contain the virus,” the text reads.

“We are not alone in raising the alarm about this possibility and the ‘moral catastrophe’ this represents.”

Read the full letter on Vaccine access in South Africa and the rest of Global South

WCC member churches in South Africa

First published on the World Council of Churches website on 1 February 2021.

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