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Global Anglican leaders call for fair Covid-19 vaccine roll-out to world’s vulnerable

The Primates of the Anglican Communion have called upon the world's governments to ensure the "equitable" roll-out of anticipated Covid-19 vaccines and to "prioritize health workers and the most vulnerable first in a highly politicized world". 

In a communiqué published on Thursday, the primates appealed “to the Governments of those countries developing vaccines to work closely with the WHO to ensure that distribution is on a just and fair basis, to the most vulnerable and not merely to the richest".

This week, it was revealed that a vaccine developed by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer and biotech firm BioNTech SE had an astonishing 90% efficacy rate against Covid-19 during clinical trials. However, as the release of the vaccine approaches, many are calling for logistics to be implemented for the safe delivery of the drug to those most in need. 

It was a sentiment reiterated by Dr Sylvie Briand, Director for Global Infectious Hazards Preparedness in WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, who said during a discussion with Anglican leaders last week that it was "certain that the most vulnerable in communities suffer the greatest impact of any epidemic, and these vulnerable communities most in need as the vaccine roll out begins next year". 

"It is clear that there is opportunity for mutual collaboration between the Anglican Communion both locally and globally in this regard," she added. 

In an interview with Premier earlier this week, the Chief Executive of the British Medical Fellowship, Dr Mark Pickering, said that distribution of the vaccine faces a number of serious challenges due to it needing to be stored at an extremely low temperature. 

"The next question is, once it's got the approval, how do you get it out to enough people because I see from this one that you have to store it at minus 80 degrees, and that's pretty hardcore logistics," he said. "So you can't just put it in a standard refrigerated box and take it to people in Sub Saharan Africa."

Dr Pickering added: "Clearly, the World Health Organization will be doing all its all it can, but then the next ethical question is, how do you distribute it in a fair manner?"

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