The Pope urges rich people to give coronavirus vaccine priority to 'the most vulnerable and needy'
Pope Francis wears a mask. Alessandra Benedetti - Corbis / Getty Images
Pope Francis said Friday the "most vulnerable and neediest" populations should get a coronavirus vaccine first.
"I urge everyone - heads of government, companies, international organizations - to encourage cooperation, not competition, and look for a solution for everyone: vaccines for everyone, especially the most vulnerable and needy regions of the planet," said he in his annual Christmas address. "Before everyone else: the most vulnerable and neediest!"
Wealthy countries have bought up most of the coronavirus vaccine supply available, while poor countries are searching for supplies.
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In his Christmas address on Friday, Pope Francis urged the rich to step back and allow the "most vulnerable and needy" populations to receive a coronavirus vaccine first.
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"I cannot put myself before others and let the law of the market and patents take precedence over the law of love and the health of mankind," he said, according to the record of his address from the Vatican.
"I urge everyone - heads of government, companies, international organizations - to encourage cooperation, not competition, and find a solution for everyone: vaccines for everyone, especially the most vulnerable and needy regions of the planet," he added added. "Before everyone else: the most vulnerable and neediest!"
His remarks come just before reports from rich countries buying up most of the coronavirus vaccine supply available. Less affluent countries are "looking for supplies," Business Insider's Sinéad Baker reported.
These rich countries have bought enough vaccines so that their residents can get more than the dose required for immunity. Other countries are struggling to immunize enough of their populations and contain the virus. If the trend continues, these struggling countries may have to wait years to reach mass vaccination, according to World Health Organization estimates.
According to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University, the coronavirus has infected more than 79,000,000 people worldwide. The United States is the country with the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases with at least 18,600,000.
In his address, the Pope emphasized his belief that the vaccine should be available to anyone who needs it.
"Today, in this time of darkness and uncertainty about the pandemic, various lights of hope appear, such as the discovery of vaccines. However, in order for these lights to shine and bring hope to all, they must be available to everyone," he said .
Pope Francis also hopes that the holiday season will encourage people to be "generous, supportive and helpful, especially to people who are vulnerable, sick, unemployed or in difficulty due to the economic impact of the pandemic, and women who have suffered as a result." . " domestic violence during these months of lockdown. "
"In the face of a challenge that knows no borders, we cannot build walls. We are all in the same boat," he continued. "Any other person is my brother or sister."
The Pope's Christmas speech is usually given to a crowd of tens of thousands of people who gather in St. Peter's Square.
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