The poor and weakest members of society should get preferential treatment when a vaccine for the coronavirus is available according to Pope Francis.
The Pope told the United Nations:” if anyone should be given preference, let it be the poorest, the most vulnerable, those who so often experience discrimination because they have neither power nor economic resources”
The Independent reports: Pope Francis said: “How sad it would be if for the Covid-19 vaccine priority is given to the richest.”
He also said it would be scandalous if all the economic assistance in the works, most of it using public funds, ends up reviving industries that don’t help the poor or the environment.
“The pandemic has laid bare the difficult situation of the poor and the great inequality that reigns in the world,” the pope said in his speech. “And the virus, while it doesn’t make exceptions among persons, has found in its path, devastating, great inequalities and discrimination,” Pope Francis said, adding: “and it has increased them.”
Throughout the pandemic, many poor people, who often have jobs that don’t allow them to work from home, have found themselves less able to shelter from possible contagion during stay-at-home strategies enacted by many nations to reduce the contagion rate. Access to the best health care for the poor is often impossible in many parts of the world.
Pope Francis said responses to the pandemic must be twofold. On one hand: “It’s indispensable to find the cure for such a small but tremendous virus, that brings the entire world to its knees.”
On the other hand: “We must treat a great virus, that of social injustice, of inequality of opportunity, of being marginalised and of lack of protection of the weakest,” the pope said.
Pope Francis has dedicated much of his papacy to highlighting the plight of those living on life’s margins, saying societies must put them at the centre of their attention.
Noting how many are eager to return to normality and resume economic activity, Pope Francis voiced caution: “Sure, but this ‘normality’ must not include social injustices and degradation of the environment.”
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