An Anglican Communion-wide coalition of churches, medical professionals and development agencies have issued a challenge to the G7 group of wealthy nations to urgently find ways to channel their vaccination surplus to countries that cannot afford to vaccinate their people.
The Anglican Communion’s Health and Community Network has joined with Anglican Alliance – whose members live and work in development in some of the world’s poorest nations – to ask the governments of G7 countries to convene an emergency G7 meeting to tackle the problem of wealthy nations hoarding and discarding Covid-19 vaccine supplies.
“We are one human family. We can and must work together to end this pandemic, leaving no one behind.” said Anglican Health and Community Network Co-convenors: Bishop of Hertford Rt Rev Michael Beasley; Dr Janice Tsang, Specialist in Medical Oncology, Hong Kong; and Bishop of Namibia, Rt Revd Luke Pato – joined by Anglican Alliance Executive Director, Rev Canon Rachel Carnegie today.
Globally, over 5.5 billion vaccine doses have now been administered, but 80% have been administered in high-and upper-middle income countries. Meanwhile, Africa’s vaccination coverage is at 2%.
Even as rich countries issue booster jabs and offer to vaccinate to all citizens over twelve, they are still on track to amass an excess of 1 billion vaccines by the end of the year.
This excess of supply in rich countries will only increase in 2022 as global vaccine manufacturing increases. The Anglican Alliance and Health and Community Network have called on G7 governments to make sure they do not hoard the surpluses amassed and then waste them – when they could have mobilised ways to share.
The two Anglican coalitions report that the lack of vaccines for the majority of countries puts the lives and health of millions around the world at risk, and with the threat of new variants emerging globally that risk does not exclude rich countries.
“Covid-19 vaccines have ‘use by’ dates. If not put into people’s arms, significant parts of the excess being generated will need to be destroyed.”
“It is a matter of extreme concern that if not shared, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of vaccines that have been purchased by rich nations will go to waste.” said the joint statement from the two Anglican bodies released on 18 September 2021.
The Anglican Communion’s health focused networks also recognised the G7 governments' support for the Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) and the commitments they made at the G7 summit in June 2021 to make additional doses available.
But today, less than 15% of those 1 billion doses the G7 governments promised to donate have reached vaccination centres in poorer countries.
“We call on all G7 governments and others to fulfil their promises and commit fully to global vaccine equity.” say the Anglican health advocates.
“National vaccine surpluses must be equitably and effectively shared, with waste avoided and lives saved.”
The Anglican Alliance comprises 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion and in Africa a key Anglican Alliance partner is CAPA – the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa. In addition the Alliance includes seven Anglican development agencies: Anglican Board of Mission and Anglican Overseas Aid (Australia) Anglican Missions (Aotearoa, NZ & Polynesia), Episcopal Relief & Development (USA), the ‘Five Talents’ Anglican finance and training group that works in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Bolivia and Myanmar; the Mothers’ Union (Communion-wide) and The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (Canada). The Anglican Communion Health and Community Network was launched in April 2021 and raises the voices of Anglican medical and scientific specialists to help promote public health best practice throughout the Anglican Communion.