“It was a year of deep learning. We learned that in our round earth, each and every one of us is the centre and no country is more central or higher than another. Therefore, whatever we do affects us all equally. The political borders of countries are symbolic signs of nationalistic selfishness that only serve to separate humanity but not protect from a pandemic. We are also aware of the vulnerability we have as human beings and much more as individuals.”
-Ricardo Esquivia, director of MCC Colombia partner Sembrandopaz.
As we mark a year of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are deeply concerned by global inequalities on the rise. This includes global access to life-saving vaccinations. Canada has enough purchased vaccines to inoculate our population many times over. This limits the global supply of these vaccines.
At the same time, the lives of vulnerable communities around the world and in Canada have become even more precarious during the pandemic. While several high-income countries, including Canada, have begun to vaccinate their populations – already rolling out millions of doses – low- and middle-income countries, including many of the areas where MCC partners work, will not access enough doses to vaccinate more than 20% of their population until 2022. MCC partners and communities around the world are very concerned about safe, equitable and effective prevention and response to the pandemic. They ask us to support measures to ensure that all countries, irrespective of wealth, have unhindered, timely access to quality, safe, efficacious and affordable vaccines. This will allow for a just recovery for all of us, in Canada and around the world, as part of a global community.
The pandemic has also given us an opportunity to work for a renewed world as we respond with care for our neighbours, at home and around the world. As we mark this year, we have also seen solidarity, generosity and care around the world and at home as we take public health measures to love and support one another. One way to continue to show love to our neighbours is to encourage the Canadian government to also express care and solidarity for an equitable vaccine distribution.
We invite you to join us in sending a message to the Prime Minister and the Minister of International Development to:
- Thank the government for vaccine rollouts in Canada and current leadership on vaccine equality and financial support for COVAX.
- Encourage Canada to create a timely re-distribution plan to donate Canada’s excess vaccines through COVAX. Encourage support for rollout plans that focus on essential workers and the most vulnerable at home and internationally, including migrants and displaced peoples.
- Encourage Canadian support for the temporary waving of TRIPS (Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) at the World Trade Organization. This will temporarily waive intellectual property (IP) barriers on COVID-19 vaccines to allow for increased production in multiple countries.
- Increase Canadian support for health system strengthening around the world, especially for those run by community organizations to promote a just and equitable pandemic recovery.
Banner image caption: Anna Mwatha, shown with health promoter Joel Esapaya, is a care group leader who helps families in Mathare, an area of Nairobi, Kenya, know how to better care for their health. Over past months, she has also kept this handwashing station filled with water and provided soap she and other care group leaders have made. Mwatha maintains this handwashing station, one of the 50 handwashing stations provided through an MCC partner, and teaches neighbors how to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (MCC Photo/Scott Stoner-Eby, 2020)