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Pope Francis Urges Rich Countries to Share Coronavirus Vaccine

August 21, 2020, 11.17 PM

ROME, – Pope Francis frowned upon the idea that a country would withhold a coronavirus vaccine and prevent it from being universally available.

In his weekly general audience, Pope Francis stated "It would be sad if the rich are given priority for the Covid-19 vaccine.

It would be sad if the vaccine becomes property of this or that nation, if it is not universal and for everyone."

Read also: WHO to Assess Russias Coronavirus Vaccine for Approval

He warned that rich countries should not hoard a coronavirus vaccine.

The Vatican Pope believes that pandemic-related bailouts should be given to companies committed to environmental protection and helping vulnerable groups and the ‘common good.’

On Tuesday, the WHO stated that any nation that does not share any potential Covid-19 vaccines would worsen the existing pandemic.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who has warned against "vaccine nationalism", urged countries to join a global pact by an August 31 deadline to share vaccine hopefuls with developing countries.

Read also: Indonesia Aims to Export Covid-19 Vaccine Manufactured by State-Run Bio Farma

More than 150 vaccines are in development, about two dozen are in human studies and a handful are in late-stage trials.

Francis also said it would be a "scandal" if governments doled out pandemic-related bail-out money to only select industries.

He said the criteria for companies to receive public aid should be if they "contribute to the inclusion of people who are normally excluded (from society), to helping the most needy, to the common good and to caring for the environment".

More than 21.9 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 772,647 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

"The pandemic is a crisis and one never exits from a crisis returning to the way it was before," Francis said.

"Either we leave better, or we leave worse. We have to leave better in order to tackle social injustices and environmental degradation."

The pope's audiences are still being held virtually from his official library inside the Vatican because of the pandemic instead of St. Peter's Square, previously packed with tens of thousands of people.

(Writer: Philip Pullella | Editor: Philippa Fletcher) 


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