Coronavirus vaccine must be shared worldwide: Pope Francis

Coronavirus vaccine must be shared worldwide: Pope Francis

On Sunday, Pope Francis called for international scientific collaboration to develop a coronavirus vaccine, and said that any successful vaccine must be made available worldwide. 

Francis, who delivered his Sunday address from the Papal Library in place of St. Peter's Square because of Italy's lockout, thanked all those around the world who offered critical services. 

Francis said, “In fact, it is important to unite scientific capabilities, in a transparent and impartial way to find vaccines and treatments.”

He urged international collaboration to address the epidemic and combat the virus, which has infected nearly 3.5 million people worldwide and killed more than 240,000 people.

Pope Francis said that, "it was also important to guarantee universal access to essential technologies that allow each infected person, in every part of the world, to receive the necessary medical treatment.”  

World leaders promised in April to speed up progress on COVID-19 research, medicines, and vaccines and spread them around the world, but the US did not participate in the unveiling of the World Health Organization initiative. 

United States  President Donald Trump said that the WHO responded poorly to the epidemic and was "China-centric" and declared a reduction of funding as a result. The World Health Organization has defended its crisis management.

According to a senior US administration official, the Trump administration is preparing to accelerate the production of a coronavirus vaccine with the goal of making 100 million doses ready by the end of 2020. 

The Pope Francis also supported a call for an international day of prayer and fasting on May 14 by an inter-religious organization known as the Higher Committee on Human Fraternity to ask God to help humanity defeat the outbreak.

Many experts have recommended clinical trials to ensure a vaccine is safe, and it could take at least 12 to 18 months to be successful.

Photo: Pope Francis gives the homily during his early morning Mass April 23, 2020.