Catholic Religious Australia is opposed to the stockpiling of COVID-19 vaccines by wealthy nations and is calling for an equitable distribution of vaccines around the globe, particularly to developing nations.
CRA echoed the concerns of the UNICEF-World Health Organisation, who said on February 10 that more than three quarters of the 128 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered so far have occurred in only 10 countries.
UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore and WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said unequal vaccination rates will allow COVID-19 strains to mutate, prolonging the pandemic, costing further lives and undermining the global economic recovery. They said the “COVID-19 vaccine race, we either win together or lose together.”
CRA president, Br Peter Carroll FMS said, “We must practise fraternity, not only to ensure justice for developing nations, but to truly put an end to the COVID-19 Pandemic, which has exacerbated many pre-existing inequities, both in Australian society and globally.
“We now have a clear choice to either continue down the same path or begin a process of recovery that builds a more just world, starting with the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines globally.”
CRA executive director said the CRA commended the Morrison Australian Government for making vaccines free for all Australian residents, including those on temporary protection visas and bridging visas and asylum-seekers in detention.
She also praised the financial commitment of the Government to ensure the vaccination of Australia’s neighbours in the Pacific Islands, Timor-Leste and South-East Asia.
CRA supports WHO in its call for wealthy governments to promptly donate any surplus vaccines and to make financial contributions to ensure that vaccines can be safely developed, manufactured and deployed to developing nations.