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Primate calls for vaccine justice for developing countries

The Most Rev John McDowell, the Church of Ireland’s Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All–Ireland, has made a donation to Christian Aid Ireland in thanks for his double dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

The Archbishop’s ‘gratitude donation’ will help the international aid agency as it supports vulnerable people in low–income countries where very few people have received even one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. Christian Aid is also campaigning for people in developing countries to receive their jabs.

Fewer than 5% of people in low–income countries have received at least one vaccine dose, an injustice that Christian Aid says will cost lives and make the emergence of dangerous new variants more likely.

The Archbishop, whose enthronement service was held in September in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, added his voice to the charity’s campaign for ‘vaccine justice’. He said: “I wanted to express how grateful I am to have had the vaccine so quickly and also to urge those who are in decision–making positions to consider how best to share our good fortune with those in other countries who desperately need vaccination.”

Christian Aid is calling on the UK and Irish Governments to support a temporary suspension of intellectual property rights for coronavirus vaccines. This would allow more companies to produce and supply more doses, overcoming the current barriers in sharing expertise which are holding back the roll–out of Covid vaccinations.

The agency has responded to the global coronavirus pandemic in 27 countries also coping with extreme poverty. As well as raising awareness of how to keep safe from coronavirus, Christian Aid has handed out soap to around 250,000 vulnerable people to help prevent the virus spreading as well as giving food packages to nearly 60,000 people struggling to feed their families after losing work following lockdown.

To give a donation to help Christian Aid protect the most vulnerable while the vaccine remains out of the reach of most people, please visit www.caid.ie/vaccine or you can make a telephone donation on 028 9064 8133 (Belfast) or 01 496 7040 (Dublin).

For further information please contact:

Church of Ireland Press Office 
Church of Ireland House 
61–67 Donegall Street 
Belfast, BT1 2QH 

Tel: (028) 9082 8880 (from NI)
Tel: (048) 9082 8880 (from RoI)
Email: Press Office

Peter Cheney

+44 (0)7774 295 369

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