12/29/2020, 15.31
VATICAN
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There is a moral responsibility to accept the vaccine

The Vatican COVID-19 Commission and the Pontifical Academy for Life issued a statement. Refusing “the vaccine may also constitute a risk to others”. The statement reminds world leaders that the vaccine must be provided to everyone in a fair and equitable manner, giving priority to those who need it the most.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - There is a “moral responsibility” vis-à-vis vaccination against COVID-19, based on the “relationship between personal health and public health, showing their close interdependence,” reads a statement issued today by the Vatican COVID-19 Commission and the Pontifical Academy for Life.

The document reminds world leaders that the vaccine must be provided to everyone in a fair and equitable manner, with priority given to those who need it the most. Echoing Pope Francis' recent Christmas Urbi et Orbi message, the statement invites world leaders to resist the temptation of “vaccine nationalism”, urging governments and businesses to work together and not compete.

“COVID-19 is exacerbating a triple threat of simultaneous and interconnected health, economic and socio-ecological crises that are disproportionately impacting the poor and vulnerable. As we move towards a just recovery, we must ensure that immediate cures for the crises become stepping-stones to a more just society, with an inclusive and interdependent set of systems.

“Taking immediate actions to respond to the pandemic, keeping in mind its long-term effects, is essential for a global and regenerative ‘healing’. If responses are limited solely to the organizational and operational level, without the re-examination of the causes of the current difficulties that can dispose us towards a real conversion, we will never have those societal and planetary transformations that we so urgently need (cf. Fratelli Tutti, 7).

The 20-point statement focuses on an “equitable and universal access to the vaccine” in order to address the problems and priorities emerging in the various stages associated with the vaccine, from research and development to patents and commercial exploitation, as well as approval, distribution and administration.

Reiterating the essential role of the vaccine in defeating the pandemic, not only in terms of personal as well as public health, the Vatican COVID-19 Commission and the Pontifical Academy for Life remind world leaders that the vaccine must be provided to everyone in a fair and equitable manner, giving priority to those who need it most.

With respect to the moral responsibility of being vaccinated, “it is necessary to reiterate how this issue also involves the relationship between personal health and public health, showing their close interdependence. In the light of this connection, we consider it important that a responsible decision be taken in this regard, since refusal of the vaccine may also constitute a risk to others. This also applies if, in the absence of an alternative, the motivation is to avoid benefiting from the results of a voluntary abortion.”

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has looked at the issue of using vaccines, noting that “it can be considered ‘morally acceptable’, under precise conditions”.

Refusing “could seriously increase the risks for public health. In fact, on the one hand, those categories of people who cannot be vaccinated (e.g. immunosuppressed) and who can thus only rely on other people’s vaccination coverage (and herd immunity) to avoid the risk of infection, would be more exposed. On the other hand, becoming ill leads to an increase in hospitalizations, with subsequent overload for health systems, up to a possible collapse, as has happened in various countries during this pandemic. This hinders access to health care which, once again, affects those who have fewer resources. The Bishops of England and Wales have recently reaffirmed that ‘individuals should welcome the vaccine not only for the sake of their own health but also out of solidarity with others, especially the most vulnerable’.”

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