CMMB, 81 Global Humanitarian and Faith-Based Organizations Call on Biden Administration to Provide Equitable Global Vaccine Distribution

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, July 26, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) joined 81 humanitarian and faith-based organizations addressing health, social, and economic challenges around the world, calling on the Biden Administration to share the U.S. vaccine stockpile globally and to advocate for an intellectual property waiver for COVID-19 vaccines. In the letter, CMMB and the likeminded organizations urged the Biden Administration to:

1) Express strong support for the temporary WTO intellectual property waiver for COVID-19 vaccines at the upcoming WTO TRIPS council meeting July 27-28
2) Invest in a global manufacturing effort to produce enough vaccines for everyone by Spring 2022
3) Continue to distribute the vaccines that the U.S. has pledged to donate
4) Support technology sharing initiatives
5) Encourage other developed nations to take similar actions.

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“We can end this pandemic,” said Mary Beth Powers, president and CEO of CMMB. “CMMB-trained healthcare workers have seen firsthand the widespread economic disruption and premature death that COVID-19 has wrought, so we know that putting a stop to this virus will require a global approach. CMMB and our fellow humanitarian organizations are calling on the Biden Administration to commit to greater vaccine production and distribution to achieve equity and prevent more deadly outbreaks. The U.S. stockpile will be over 1 billion doses, and those doses could be doing tremendous good around the world – and helping us to beat this deadly virus.”

In calling on the Biden Administration to distribute surplus vaccines, Ms. Powers also appealed to logistical considerations in beating the pandemic. “State governments and hospital systems in the U.S. are sitting on millions of surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses as expiration dates approach. These doses will do far more good in the arms of healthcare workers in Africa – where only 2% of the population have received a vaccine even as a third wave surges – than allowing them to simply sit idle and be destroyed.”

Haiti, which just last week received its first shipment of 500,000 doses donated by the U.S. for its population of 11 million, could also make good use of surplus U.S. vaccines. “We are committed to engaging with faith leaders to combat COVID-19 vaccine misinformation and hesitancy, and to encourage rural communities to get vaccinated once doses become available. We are working with Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP), Pan American Health Association (PAHO), and UNICEF on the promotion and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines,” said Dr. Dianne Jean-François, CMMB Country Director in Haiti. “We are preparing church-run healthcare clinics to become rural vaccination hubs, as well as assisting in logistics.”

CMMB’s commitment to combatting COVID-19 is global. In South Sudan, the Ministry of Health selected CMMB to begin vaccinating residents in Western Equatoria. In June alone, CMMB South Sudan vaccinated 2,257 people with their first dose of AstraZeneca. With a commitment to vaccine equity and serving hard-to-reach communities, CMMB is working with local leaders to encourage uptake of the vaccine and to demonstrate to community members the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.

“The current pandemic has reminded us that there are no differences or boundaries between those suffering. The time has come to eliminate inequality and to cure injustice that is undermining the health of the entire human family,” said Pope Francis, which he echoed in a letter last year. “We are all in the same boat, where one person’s problems are the problems of all.”

For questions about the information contained within this press release or about CMMB and its programs, please contact the Director of Communications, Luke Dougherty, at [email protected]

About CMMB

CMMB (Catholic Medical Mission Board) provides long-term medical and development aid to communities affected by poverty and unequal access to healthcare. Focusing on women’s and children health, we deliver sustainable health services in Peru, Haiti, Kenya, South Sudan, and Zambia. For over a century, we have worked to strengthen and support communities through healthcare programs and initiatives, the placement of volunteer, and the distribution of medicines and medical supplies. CMMB has delivered over 3,000 shipments with a total value of more than $4 billion worth of medical aid in 88 countries over the last ten years.

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