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UK News

Church of England backs efforts to fund biggest vaccination drive in history

by Tola Mbakwe

The Church of England is supporting the 'VaccinAid' campaign, which aims to help fund the largest vaccination drive ever.

It’s led by UNICEF UK and the online fundraiser Crowdfunder, and aims gives people a practical way to show thanks for their Covid-19 jab by donating to help pay for vaccines for others around the world.

VaccineAid, which is also has the backing of the NHS and celebrities, hopes to fund almost two billion Covid-19 vaccines for health workers and the most high risk and vulnerable people. The money raised will also help UNICEF provide tests and treatments to people in 190 countries through the global COVAX initiative.

The campaign launched on Monday has been developed in just a few weeks following a meeting convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury with faith leaders, the Government and charities to discuss how people in the UK could do something with the sense of gratitude many have felt. 

Most Rev Justin Welby encouraged people to join in the campaign as a practical demonstration of Jesus' command to love our neighbour.

Archbishop Justin said: "The Covid-19 crisis has had a profound impact on people here and around the world, but vaccines offer the hope of a brighter future. I'm delighted that churches and other faith groups in the UK are supporting the VaccinAid campaign

"There is no better way to show our deep gratitude for the gifts of science and medicine than making sure vulnerable people around the world are also given a shot.

"At the heart of the Christian faith is Christ's call to love our neighbour: keeping one another safe from this terrible disease is part of living that out. I encourage people to donate whatever they can, so we can build a better world together."

Rt Rev Dr Michael Beasley, the Bishop of Hertford and an epidemiologist, played a key role in helping set up the campaign.

He said: "Covid-19 has affected us all - every home, family, school, business and community all around the world.

"And because of the way this virus works, we know that it won't be over for anyone until it's over for everyone. That's why I've been delighted to throw my support behind VaccinAid.

"It offers each of us the opportunity to play our individual part in bringing this world wide epidemic to an end.

"If, like me, you've had your jab, you'll know the feeling of relief, gratitude and thankfulness that happens when you've been protected from Covid.

"I'd love the whole world to experience that feeling and protection too. So let's give the world a shot!"

The campaign comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson says countries need to work together on their vaccine rollouts, warning that a third wave of coronavirus across Europe could hit the UK.

The EU's threatened to block exports of the AstraZeneca jab as it struggles with shortages.

The PM spoke to European leaders, including the French president, aiming to prevent what the Government's calling "vaccine nationalism".

Bishop Michael described the controversy surrounding vaccine supply as a “sad” situation.

He told Premier: “We've all got to pull together as one world to combat Covid-19. What can be perceived as argument, squabbling, or unhappiness like that, I don't think that's going to help us all get behind what really needs to happen.

“We can address Covid everywhere, because we have to do that if we're to bring this pandemic to an end. So, I think the call of all of us is to say to folks: come on, we need to cooperate together."

Click here to show thanks for your jab and donate to someone else's. 

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