Pope Francis: Covid vaccines must be made available for all

Vatican City, Dec 25 (efe-epa).- Pope Francis on Friday used his Christmas Day address to urge leaders to ensure that Covid-19 vaccines are made available to everyone, especially the most vulnerable.

Francis delivered his Urbi et Orbi speech amid an absence of the usual crowds given the coronavirus situation in Italy, which has been placed on lockdown for the festive period.

“In this moment of darkness and uncertainty amid the pandemic, some lights of hope have appeared, such as the discovery of the vaccines but for these lights to be able to illuminate and bring hope to the entire world, they must be available to everyone,” the pope said during a speech live broadcast from inside St. Peter’s Basilica.

He said people must not allow “closed nationalism” to prevent the world from living as a human family.

“Neither can we allow the radical virus of individualism to overcome us and render us indifferent to the suffering of our brothers and sisters,” he continued.

“I cannot put myself before others, putting the laws of the market and invention patents above the law of love and the health of humanity.”

He urged heads of state and business to put cooperation before competition to find solutions to the pandemic.

“Vaccines for everyone. Especially the poorest and most vulnerable in every region of the planet.”

He called on world leaders not to “erect walls” in a challenge that “knows no borders.”

The head of the Catholic Church added that the social imbalances brought on by the pandemic and the ecological and economic crises it has entailed should prompt members of society to recognize each other as “brothers and sisters.”

“In everyone, I see reflected the face of God, and in those who suffer, I see the Lord pleading for my help. I see him in the sick, the poor, the unemployed, the marginalized, the migrant and the refugee.”

He offered a prayer for women who have been victims of domestic violence.

As is a tradition in his Christmas address, the pope urged for an end to the world’s conflicts.

He made particular mention of Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Nagorno-Karabakh and Ukraine.

He said he prayed for the people of Vietnam and the Philippines to be protected from natural disasters and recalled the plight of the persecuted Rohingya people in Myanmar.

Francis penned a letter urging further reconciliation efforts in South Sudan and called on Lebanese leaders to put aside differences and to help rebuild the country.

He also prayed for the Americas and the countries there that are being particularly hard hit by the pandemic.

Francis called for an end to the suffering of people living in Venezuela and for the people of Chile to overcome social tensions. EFE-EPA


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