Updates about the “A Vaccine for All” campaign
Fundraising continues for the “A Vaccine for All” campaign with a commitment to promote the internationalization of vaccines and care as a fundamental right for all. While in the Amazon people are struggling to emerge from the period of heavy rains that caused one of the most severe floods in 30 years, in Italy, representatives of the partnership of movements, health organizations and research centres around the world that are promoting the campaign met the Italian Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza.
“The project has just started, with a focus on prevention, which is a fundamental aspect because the populations involved are often isolated, due to flooding, and not prioritized in healthcare campaigns. Hence the decision to operate in Óbidos, in Pará (Brazilian Amazon)”, explains Stefano Comazzi, president of AMU – Azione per un Mondo Unito Onlus (Action for a United World) the non-profit organization that is co-promoting the “A Vaccine for All” campaign and is in charge of managing the project together with the local counterpart “Associação Lar São Francisco de Assis na Providencia de Deus” (St Francis of Assisi Association and Fraternity in God’s Providence). Edson Galego, spokesperson for the association in the port city of Óbidos, along the Amazon River, tells us over the phone that the region has suffered one of the biggest floods in 30 years, “Houses are still under water. Especially people living along the river have had to abandon them and have fled to relatives and friends in the city. With this situation, all the protective measures against Covid-19 are skipped…”. It was a blessing in disguise, we might say, because this has prompted the government to speed up the vaccination of people in the region to prevent the epidemic from worsening. This is also thanks to the awareness-raising work done by the promoters of ‘A vaccine for all’ with the local government and the healthcare service. Now, what is really needed is support for prevention and post-Covid care.
This is why everyone’s contribution to the “A Vaccine for all” campaign is more urgent than ever. Comazzi continues, “The collection has already reached EUR 15,000, thanks to the support of many donors. This gives us hope for the continuation, and perhaps the expansion, of the phase of distribution of prevention packs and assistance to the most vulnerable families”.
Meanwhile, on the political front, in Italy, a representation of the international network of more than 40 organizations from different countries, of various cultures and religions promoting the campaign was received by Health Minister Roberto Speranza.
The delegation was composed of Mario Bruno, President of the MPPU (Movement for Unity in Politics), Yassine Lafram, President of the UCOII (Union of Islamic Communities in Italy), and Leonardo Becchetti, member of the RETINOPERA Executive Committee, who explained the initiative to the Minister and, in particular, the pathway “#daretocare, Active citizenship and politics for unity” developed in the period 2020-2021 together with young people from different countries, which gave rise to the need for the “A vaccine for all” campaign.
Bruno continued, “The internationalism of vaccines is a priority that we wanted to specify in the worldwide campaign which calls on governments not only to suspend patents and to involve vaccine manufacturers in social responsibility, but also to transfer knowledge, the ‘know-how’, to less developed countries, so that we can reach the goal of a vaccine for all as soon as possible”.
Minister Speranza reiterated to the delegation the utmost attention to these issues and highlighted the importance of accompanying government decisions with initiatives that start from the grassroots level, “States are moving in the direction also desired by this campaign, as emerged recently at the meeting of Health Ministers in the context of the G7 and the meeting with European ministers. Even if the process of transferring specialist knowledge to manufacture vaccines even in the most fragile countries remains complex, it is important to accompany the political action of governments with a grassroots initiative aimed at global dissemination”. From this, the Minister encouraged the campaign’s promoters and pledged to search together for opportunities for discussion in the course of the G20 side events, which will culminate in Rome on 30th and 31st October.
Minister Speranza was also shown the project ‘Prevention, vaccine and treatment for the ribeirinhos of the Amazon’, which involves collecting donations to guarantee the right to healthcare and vaccines in areas of the world inhabited by millions of ‘invisible’ and forgotten people. Donations will be collected through the website www.avaccineforall.org/en/donate/