The Davao Association of Catholic Schools (DACS) joins the Society of Jesus and the growing number of like-minded individuals and institutions worldwide in urgently seeking an equitable and just production and distribution of vaccines and other medical items that protect from, control the spread of, and treat COVID-19. The DACS finds it extremely alarming and unjust that “over 87% [of the 700 million vaccine doses administered globally] have gone to high income or upper middle-income countries, while low-income countries have received just 0.2%.”
The DACS echoes the warning of the Vatican COVID-19 Commission and the Religious Leaders Declaration against vaccine nationalism and the exploitive commercialization of certain intellectual property rights on life-saving medicine and technologies.
It unites its voice to the growing call for deeper human solidarity in the fight against the virus and upholding the common good as we pay great attention to the needs of the most vulnerable peoples in the world. Thus, DACS agrees to and advocates for India and South Africa’s proposal to the World Trade Organization (WTO): a proposal now co-sponsored by
58 other governments and favored by about 100 countries, including the Philippines.
The proposal seeks to temporarily cede the relevant provisions on COVID-19 medical tools and technologies under the WTO agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The waiver shall apply to specific global intellectual property protections until the pandemic is under control. This move shall allow for the production of COVID-19 vaccines and drugs on a larger scale and at lower prices, making them more accessible to more people, especially from poorer nations around the world.
DACS also calls out the remaining countries which continue to block this proposed waiver and those that keep an excessive stockpile of COVID-19 vaccines. It urges them with the words of Pope Francis to shun attitudes that run counter to solidarity and harmony: “While we all work for a cure for a virus that strikes everyone without distinction, faith exhorts us to commit ourselves seriously and actively to combat indifference in the face of violations of human dignity.”
In the end, we are all reminded by the Pontiff’s words, “that no one is saved alone; we can only be saved together (cf. Fratelli Tutti 32).”
Let us then unite in selfless human fraternity to end the pandemic once and for all.
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