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A pharmacy manager in Ridgefield, Washington, draws up a Covid-19 vaccine A pharmacy manager in Ridgefield, Washington, draws up a Covid-19 vaccine 

US Bishops call for universal access to vaccines on pandemic anniversary

A year on from the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Bishops of the United States are calling for global solidarity and universal access to vaccines, recalling that the crisis has revealed our “powerlessness”, but also “our interconnectedness and dependence on God”.

By Lisa Zengarini

“The pandemic has also revived our sense that we are a global community, and that each of us is indeed each other’s keeper.”

US Bishops made that observation in a statement issued Tuesday by the Administrative Committee of US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), as the world marks the first anniversary of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“While the growing availability of vaccines is a clear sign of hope that this pandemic, too, will pass, that hope must be given to every human being on the planet by making the vaccines universally available,” the Bishops stress. “Richer nations and pharmaceutical companies must work together to ensure that no nation, no person is left behind.”

Year of hardship

While recalling the “extraordinary hardships” endured because of the pandemic and the civil unrest witnessed in the US during 2020, the statement points out the “countless acts of kindness” and of “sacrifice” offered by so many people, which “served to remind us that we are all in this together.”

According to the Bishops, the United States must build on this kindness and openness by “creating more social structures that not only heal the fractures and isolation felt by so many during this pandemic but will prevent such divisions from occurring again.”

Keep love alive

They therefore call on the Catholic faithful to keep this sense of caring for one another and God’s love alive in their communities.

Catholics also need to continue “the work of promoting the common good”, while looking forward to welcoming each other back when all may again physically and safely participate in the celebration of the Eucharist and gather once more in parishes.

Covid-19 has killed over 500,000 people, and infected more than 29.2 million, in the United States. The US is currently the country with the highest virus death toll in the world.

10 March 2021, 14:30