Pontifical Academy for Life: No to ‘vaccine nationalism’, immunisation is a common good

The Pontifical Academy for Life stresses the importance of overcoming “vaccine nationalism” so that everyone can have the opportunity of being vaccinated and nobody is left behind in the fight against Covid-19.

By Vatican News staff writer

Opening its statement, the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life warns that “Faced with the very serious problems that are arising in relation to the production and distribution of the vaccine for Covid-19”, identifying suitable syatems for transparency and collaboration has become an “urgency”.  

“There is too much antagonism and competition and the risk of severe injustices”, reads the statement.

Signed by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life and Msgr Renzo Pegoraro, Chancellor, the statement recalls Pope Francis’ “urgent request” in his Urbi et Orbi Message, on Christmas day: “I ask everyone – government leaders, businesses, international organizations – to foster cooperation and not competition, and to seek a solution for everyone: vaccines for all, especially for the most vulnerable and needy of all regions of the planet. Before all others: the most vulnerable and needy!

These words, continues the statement, “require responsible listening on the part of all men and women of good will”.

Special document

The statement goes on to recall a joint document, released on 29 December by the Dicastery for Integral Human Development and the Pontifical Academy for Life. The document stresses the importance of vaccination and “the modalities that can make the vaccine a common good for everybody”.  

One of the aspects stressed in the document is to “overcome the logic of ‘vaccine nationalism'”, in which states attempt to gain the vaccine faster than others and with the idea of “obtaining the necessary quantity for their inhabitants first”. The Pontifical Academy for Life statement goes on to explain that “International agreements must be promoted and supported to manage patents in order to facilitate everyone’s access to the product and avoid possible ‘commercial short circuits'”. It is also necessary in order to “keep the price controlled in the future as well”, it adds, stressing that  “industrial production of the vaccine should become a collaborative operation between states, pharmaceutical companies and other organizations so that it can be carried out simultaneously in different areas of the world”.

Finally, the statement stresses that “this is an extraordinary opportunity for a new, more supportive future”. A series of tools must be specified and implemented in order to achieve the agreed goals in terms of universal accessibility”. In this way, concludes the statement, “the Pope’s appeal can be made concrete: ‘everyone, brothers and sisters!'”