Montreal, March 23, 2022 – As we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 70 countries in the world have not yet reached 40% vaccination coverage among their population. Approximately 20 countries haven’t even passed the 10% mark, while rich countries such as Canada have a vaccination coverage of about 80%. Inequalities in access to vaccines, tests and treatments for COVID-19 are contributing to prolonging the pandemic. In this context, the Canadian Religious Conference (CRC) has sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in order to encourage the Canadian government to continue its efforts to promote global vaccine equity.
The year 2021 has seen the fruits of vaccine research and the massive distribution of vaccine doses is many Western countries. Members of religious orders in Canada were grateful to receive a few doses of protection against COVID-19. However, the hope for an end to the pandemic is overshadowed by the inequitable sharing of the vaccine with low-income countries. COVID-19 variants continue to emerge and affect vulnerable populations, and spread to wealthy countries, where booster shots can’t eradicate the virus. A sixth wave is already on the horizon.
Thus, it is a priority to accelerate the equitable production and distribution of vaccines in countries with vulnerable populations. To this end, in 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) implemented the COVAX Facility and the ACT accelerator. This initiative is still relevant given the situation. The stakes are many: immense pressure on health systems, negative impacts of successive lockdowns on various employment sectors and on the global economy, as well as polarization and misinformation that increasingly divide societies.
As of March 14, 2022, Canada has delivered more than 14.2 million vaccine doses through the COVAX Facility. The CRC hopes that the Canadian government will continue to provide exemplary leadership for global vaccine equity. The CRC is joined in this by more than 50 Canadian religious congregations who have signed an open letter on the WHO website, asking G20 leaders to work together for vaccine equity against COVID-19 in all countries.
The Canadian Religious Conference is a network that brings together the leaders of 240 Catholic congregations of women and men religious in Canada. The CRC’s mission is to encourage its members to live fully their vocation in following Christ and to support them in their prophetic witness to justice and peace in a Canadian context.
Associate Director, communications
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