Prominent Anglicans have added their names to a letter written by faith leaders from around the world calling for an increase in the production of COVID-19 vaccines, and an end to vaccine nationalism. The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, is amongst the prominent Anglicans to sign the letter, which has also been endorsed Dr Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury; Dr Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town; John Davies, Archbishop of Wales; John McDowell, Archbishop of Armagh; Archbishop Linda Nicholls, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada; Mark Strange, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church; and Dr Mouneer Anis, Archbishop of Alexandria.
They are amongst almost 150 religious leaders who have signed the letter. They are asking leaders at next month’s G7 meeting for a commitment to take all the necessary steps to ensure a global programme of vaccination is undertaken as “a global common good”.
The letter said: “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.”
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.
Fionna Smyth, head of global advocacy and policy for the UK-based development agency Christian Aid, said: “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. We need a People’s Vaccine, not a profit vaccine.”
In an article written for British newspaper The Guardian, Rowan Williams said that the G7 must act to end “vaccine apartheid”. He said: “Future generations will look back with incredulity at our failure so far to do what is necessary for global public health in the course of this pandemic.”
The religious leaders concluded their letter by saying: “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…
“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.”
First published on the Anglican Communion News Service website on 7 May 2021.Jump to next article