Church leaders from North to South of the continent join Pope Francis in urging vaccination as an act of love.
Pope Francis and six prelates representing the whole of the American continent – from the United States down to Peru – join together in a video released August 18 to urge vaccination against Covid-19, and the availability of vaccines for all.
“Thanks to God’s grace and to the work of many, we now have vaccines to protect us from Covid-19,” the Pope says in the video.
He added that vaccines “bring hope to end the pandemic, but only if they are available to all and if we collaborate with one another.”
The Holy Father has been insistent that the vaccines must be available also to poor countries.
As those in rich countries are already receiving a third (booster) dose, vaccination rates in many poor countries continue to be dismal. Only 1.3% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.
Africa is the continent with by far fewest vaccination, but parts of the Americas, especially in the Caribbean, are also lagging. Nicaragua, for example, has only 9.2% of people with at least one dose. Honduras has 23%. Haiti, sorely tried with the earthquake, tropical storm, and political disarray, has only 0.17%.
Uruguay and Chile, on the other hand, have had widespread vaccinations, with 76% and 74% of their populations having had a first dose.
From north to south
Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the United States episcopal conference, laments in the video how the pandemic has caused suffering and death across the globe.
He prayed that God might “grant us the grace to face it with the strength of faith, ensuring that vaccines are available for all, so that we can all get immunized.”
While the United States has had an abundance of vaccines, there is also significant vaccine resistance there, such that only about 1/2 of the population is fully vaccinated.
Mexican Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes linked Covid-19 vaccines to a better future for all.
“From North to South America, we support vaccinations for all,” said the Cardinal. “We want to spread hope to all without exception.”
Mexico has recently been having one of the highest reported death-per-day rates across the globe.
For others, especially the vulnerable
Other prelates in the video include Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga and Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes.
Salvadorian Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chavez said vaccination helps protect the most vulnerable.
“Our choice to get vaccinated affects others,” he said, adding that it is a moral responsibility.
Peruvian Archbishop Miguel Cabrejos rounded out the testimonies contained in the video with an appeal to unity.
“We are united—North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean—to promote and support vaccination for all,” he said, encouraging everyone to “act responsibly, as members of the great human family, seeking and protecting our integral health and universal vaccination.”
See the message from the Church’s highest doctrinal office, the CDF, on vaccines, here.