Pope Francis has repeated his plea that a future coronavirus vaccine be made available to all.
“The vaccine against the coronavirus is the patrimony of humanity”, the pontiff asserted in a new interview with the Spanish edition of the magazine Il Mio Papa, in which he also discussed those he terms the “saints next door”, the wearing of facemasks during the time of COVID-19 restrictions, the need for dialogue between young and old, the moral imperative to care for creation and the feelings he had in his heart during the extraordinary moment of prayer for the end of the pandemic on March 27 in St. Peter’s Square.
“One does not emerge from a crisis the same as before. We emerge from a crisis either better or worse than before. And how we come out depends on the decisions we make during the crisis. And they are not only moral decisions, but human decisions, which touch the human, which touch the future of humanity”, said the Pope in his latest analysis of the pandemic crisis.
The pontiff explained that the path to building life post-COVID requires an inclusive vision of future generations, because “the greatness of a soul can be measured by how it responds to this question: what legacy will we leave to future generations?”
From that point of view, it is crucial to combat the ‘throwaway culture’, “that culture that continuously threatens us”, the Pope urged.
“Today more than ever we are being asked for fraternity. And this is the time to make choices, to come out of the crisis better, changing everything that is throwaway for fraternity, for inclusion”, Francis insisted.
– The latest in a long line of petitions for universal access to COVID-19 treatments
The Pope’s assertion to Il Mio Papa that a future vaccine for COVID-19 is the “patrimony of humanity” and as such must be made available to all without distinction is not the first time he has pleaded for universal access to treatments against the coronavirus.
In his catechesis at the General Audience on August 19, for example, the pontiff warned that “it would be sad if, for the vaccine for COVID-19, priority were to be given to the richest! It would be sad if this vaccine were to become the property of this nation or another, rather than universal and for all”.
During his September 9 General Audience, too, the Pope warned against coronavirus treatments being manipulated by “partisan interests”. “For example, some would like to appropriate possible solutions for themselves, as in the case of vaccines, to then sell them to others”, Francis denounced on that occasion.
In a September 19 audience with representatives of the Italy-based Medicine Bank Foundation, as well, the Pope explained that “on the ethical level, if there is the possibility of curing a disease with a medicine, it should be available to everyone, otherwise it creates an injustice”.
Decrying that “pharmaceutical poverty” which he said “creates a further gap between nations and peoples”, Francis added that pharmaceutical companies should “generously help contribute to a more equitable distribution of medicines”.