After lagging behind many other countries, Canada has now become one of the global leaders in citizens who have received the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccine. As a result, hospitalizations have decreased and every day we see new signs that things are returning to something closer to normal.
The global picture, however, is far more concerning. Massive inequity in the distribution of COVID vaccine means that many countries are being left far behind.
It is estimated that it could be 2023-2024 before low- and middle-income countries have sufficient vaccine supply for their citizens.
COVAX, a global alliance co-led by the World Health Organization to provide vaccines to the world’s poorest countries, has delivered over 70 million vaccine doses to countries around the world. However, COVAX estimates a current shortage of 190 million doses due to virus surges, particularly in places like India.
The Presbyterian Church in Canada has joined with other denominations and organizations from across Canada in the Love My Neighbour initiative, aimed at ensuring that equitable vaccine supply exists both here in Canada and around the globe. In May, the PCC signed on to a letter sent to the Prime Minister urging global vaccine equity.
What Can You Do?
Since the start of the pandemic, PWS&D has responded with its partners and through the ACT Alliance and Canadian Foodgrains Bank in response to needs made worse by COVID-19. We have responded in Malawi, Bangladesh, India, Nicaragua, and Afghanistan to name a few, with food assistance, personal protective equipment and knowledge-sharing on infection prevention and control. To learn more, click here.
Write the Prime Minister and your Member of Parliament (find your MP here) letting them know you care about vaccine equity. Urge the Canadian government to lead the way in ensuring fair access, distribution and administration of the vaccine around the world, by:
- Sharing doses of Canada’s purchased and committed vaccines, including those purchased from COVAX.
- Supporting intellectual property waivers to allow easier generic vaccine production globally.
- Strengthening global health systems through increased Official Development Assistance.
These prayers have been gathered by the World Council of Churches.
This helpful background document from the World Council of Churches provides more information on vaccine equity and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The former moderator, Rev. Amanda Currie, has written a reflection encouraging Presbyterians to get vaccinated and support efforts to ensure global vaccine equity.