02/05/2021, 15.44
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Caritas calls for an end to inequalities in vaccines, to which only the rich have access

The United Nations should get involved so that the countries of the global South can have access to vaccines. Foreign debt should be eliminated to build health facilities. The issue of patents should be addressed.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The vaccines against COVID-19 are creating new inequalities. The countries of the global North have been able to invest in research and now expect to reap the benefits, something the global South cannot do.

In view of the situation, Caritas Internationalis, the social arm of the Catholic Church, has criticised the selfishness of rich countries and is calling on the United Nations to find an equitable way to share the vaccines.

In a statement released today, the Catholic relief and development organisation, stresses that everyone should have the opportunity of getting vaccinated.

“We are at a crucial moment, an opportunity to live the miracle of charity, through addressing together the present challenge.

“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.

“Since every life is inviolable, nobody must be left out. The poor, minorities, refugees, the marginalised 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.”

Given the fact that the pandemic has struck everyone, the emergency cannot be tackled with a national or nationalist approach.

“Addressing the vaccines issue from the perspective of a narrow national strategy might lead to a moral failure in meeting the needs of the most vulnerable across the globe.

“The current vaccines crisis must be seen in the wider context of the global health situation”; hence, Caritas Internationalis urges national political leaders and the United Nations to:

– Call for 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.

– Undertake the debt remission of the poorest countries as quickly as possible and use the funds obtained to upgrade the medical and health systems in these countries.

– Promote the local production of vaccines in different technical hubs in Africa, Latin America and Asia and make them available in the next six months by addressing the issue of patent and technical collaboration with the poorer nations.

– Allocate financial and technical support to the local Civil Society Organisations, and to Faith-Based Organisations in particular, to ensure the preparation of local communities’ awareness and capacity building to prepare them to have access to preventive care.”

Lastly, the statement warns that if the pandemic were to get “out of hand in the Global South,” this could” lead to a global humanitarian crisis again.”

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