COVID-19 Vaccine: Why not pay it forward?

by Ann Deveau

As the pandemic has dragged on, disrupting all our lives, I've been waiting impatiently to get my first shot of a vaccine to protect against COVID-19.

Suddenly, the words of my late father penetrate my whiny muttering. Dad would often say: “There's always someone worse off than yourself.”

A bit red-faced, I ponder that bit of wisdom.

More advice floats to the surface.

My best friend, Deb, died of ovarian cancer this spring, still smiling and reminding people to “Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.”

My face gets redder.

After all, because I'm lucky enough to live in a relatively prosperous place like Canada with a good health-care system and with a government that bought zillions of doses in advance, it's certain that I will get vaccinated if I wish to do so. I enjoy privilege and security.

But, if I happened to live in a crowded slum in India, a remote village in Tanzania, or the high mountains of Bolivia, what would be the chances of my family getting the vaccine any time soon? Slim to none, possibly. And that's quite simply wrong.

I decided to take the advice of my wise Dad and my kind friend; be grateful for what you have and share it with someone who needs it. As soon as I get my jab, I'll pay it forward by donating to the Vaccine Equity Fund at the Primate's World Relief and Development Agency (PWRDF).

Canada's Primate, Archbishop Linda Nicholls, has written that seeking vaccine equity is not optional. She noted that our baptismal promises command us to love our neighbour as ourselves.

Archbishop Nicholls was also motivated by the words of her Anglican colleague, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of South Africa. “Everyone deserves more than the crumbs under the table when others are eating a full loaf of bread,” he pointed out.

Our Primate urged Anglicans to speak up for countries often left with “crumbs.”

For example, we can urge our members of Parliament to donate our excess vaccine to less fortunate nations because vaccine inequity threatens everyone while the virus rages. We can ask our prime minister to support a temporary suspension of trade restrictions, which control the price of vaccine, so that production can reach into heavily populated areas.

Aside from advocacy, the Primate suggested something tangible. When Anglicans receive their vaccines, they can contribute to the Vaccine Equity Fund at PWRDF. Each gift will support PWRDF partners in the most vulnerable parts of the world as they prepare for vaccination roll-out, including work already under way to supply PPE, thermometers, sanitation and hand-washing facilities, and accurate public health information.

If you visit the link to donate, you'll see that you can choose an amount  which matches your personal budget. You can also dedicate your contribution to someone special, and PWRDF will notify them about your generosity.

It's going to be difficult for PWRDF to send e-mails to my father and my friend, but I won't let that little problem stop me from paying it forward and helping a vulnerable person  somewhere get vaccinated against this deadly virus.

What will you do?




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