“We are delighted that the VaccinAid campaign to ‘Give the World a Shot’ has been launched by UNICEF UK. We hope that as a public fundraising campaign it will gather momentum to support the global vaccination efforts, especially reaching the most vulnerable to provide protection from Covid. The Church has played a key role in shaping this initiative and it is a joy to have been part of that as the Anglican Alliance. The pandemic has shown how deeply interconnected and interdependent we all are; no one is safe until everyone is safe. In the UK, VaccinAid is a practical way of expressing solidarity and love for our sisters and brothers across the world. At the same time, support is also needed to respond to current humanitarian crises caused by the pandemic and other disasters.” Revd Canon Rachel Carnegie, Executive Director of the Anglican Alliance.
When Covid-19 was declared a pandemic in March 2020, it was almost inconceivable that within a year a vaccine would be available. Thanks to the phenomenal efforts of scientists and the enabling COVAX facility, the world now has not just one effective vaccine but several and roll out is underway. This is wonderfully good news and the Alliance would like to express heartfelt gratitude to all who have helped make this happen.
However, the Anglican Alliance is also painfully aware of the unequal access people in different places have to the vaccine(s). We monitor global rollout through the Covid-19 global task force convened by the Anglican Alliance, which continues to meet regularly and often. These Communion-wide conversations confirm a deep global inequity that means some countries have more than enough supplies of vaccine(s) while others are struggling to access what they need. This inequity needs addressing through both advocacy and action. The Anglican Alliance is working with others in the Communion and ecumenically to advocate on global vaccine equity.
Meanwhile, this public fundraising campaign is just one example of practical action. VaccinAid is launched this week, calling on people to ‘Give the World a Shot’ by donating money to provide Covid-19 vaccines to others around the world. The campaign aims to support the efforts of UNICEF through the global COVAX mechanism to deliver nearly 2 billion vaccines this year, as well as tests and treatments, to the world’s most vulnerable people. The UK is one of the countries where vaccine roll out is well underway and the initiative offers a simple, practical way for people to give thanks for their vaccination.
VaccinAid has been developed rapidly over the last few weeks following a meeting convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby with UK faith leaders from other faith traditions, NGOs, UNICEF, WHO and the UK Government. The National Health Service, faith bodies, businesses and celebrities are all backing the campaign, which will receive wide media coverage and be promoted to the public to encourage maximum take up.
People in the UK feel genuine and deep gratitude to be receiving the vaccines, which are provided free by the National Health Service. People know they are fortunate, and this initiative was born of the desire both to express that thankfulness and to ensure that others across the world receive the same protection. Revd Canon Rachel Carnegie, Executive Director of the Anglican Alliance shares these sentiments in the video clip as she receives her first dose of Covid-19 vaccine.
Rachel Carnegie was involved in helping to conceptualise the VaccinAid initiative and joined the initial meeting convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Bishop Michael Beasley, Bishop of Hertford and Co-Convenor of the Anglican Health and Community Network, who is also a former epidemiologist, took the lead for the Church of England in helping to shape the initiative, working closely with UNICEF UK, faith groups and other partners.
Speaking about the initiative, Archbishop Justin Welby said, “The Covid-19 crisis has had a profound impact on people here and around the world, but vaccines offer the hope of a brighter future. I’m delighted that churches and other faith groups in the UK are supporting the VaccinAid campaign. There is no better way to show our deep gratitude for the gifts of science and medicine than making sure vulnerable people around the world are also given a shot.
“At the heart of the Christian faith is Christ’s call to love our neighbour: keeping one another safe from this terrible disease is part of living that out. I encourage people to donate whatever they can, so we can build a better world together.”
Bishop Michael Beasley said, “Covid-19 has affected us all – every home, family, school, business and community all around the world. And because of the way this virus works we know that it won’t be over for anyone until it’s over for everyone. That’s why I’ve been delighted to throw my support behind VaccinAid. It offers each of us the opportunity to play our individual part in bringing this world wide epidemic to an end. If, like me, you’ve had your jab, you’ll know the feeling of relief, gratitude and thankfulness that happens when you’ve been protected from COVID.
“I’d love the whole world to experience that feeling and protection too. So let’s give the world a shot!”
The Anglican Alliance is also currently working on advocacy for global equity of access to Covid-19 vaccines and is participating in the WHO’s community of practice for faith-based organisations on Covid-19 vaccine communication. This group is working on resources to help faith leaders communicate clearly and accurately about the importance of the vaccine with the communities they serve. We will be publishing a web story on this shortly.
For more information on the campaign go to www.vaccinaid.org.