Tutu backs appeal for Covid vaccine for all, not just the rich
In the spirit of Ubuntu, lifelong peace and social justice campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu has added his signature to an appeal for any Covid-19 vaccines to be used for the global common good.
The appeal is led by microcredit leader Muhammad Yunus who, like Archbishop Tutu, is a Nobel Peace Laureate. Other signatories include George Clooney, Sharon Stone and Richard Branson.
The appeal is designed to ensure that any vaccine that is developed is available to all of the eight billion people in the world threatened by the virus. That it is available for the poor as well as the rich and not simply sold by pharmaceutical companies to the highest bidders.
At the moment more than 100 potential vaccines are in development around the but expert opinion predicts that a safe and effective vaccination is likely to be at least a year and maybe 18 months away.
Making any vaccine available to all is in keeping with 88-year-old Archbishop Tutu’s fundamental belief that the South African philosophy of Ubuntu which champions a love, respect and understanding of each other, is the way forward.
For, rich or poor, black or white, we are all part of the same human family. Mutual respect and care for each other should be a given. As Desmond Tutu says: “My humanity is inextricably bound up in yours.” It is also a philosophy actively promoted the Tutu Foundation UK. In its work with Youth Futures and the Metropolitan Police, Ubuntu has been central to the TFUK’s remarkably successful attempts to find a way of reducing inner city crime, gang violence and drug dealing.
There were those who were understandably sceptical about the the chances of success when the Foundation set up a series of ‘roundtable’ talks bringing together police officers and gang members for one to one meetings. The skeptics were wrong. The two sides soon realised that they weren’t talking to the enemy but fellow human beings trying to survive in an unforgiving environment under challenging circumstances. It gave them pause for thought and room to develop a more healing relationship and all because they gradually came to realise that their humanity was inextricably bound up in the humanity of those they were talking to.
The same is true of finding a vaccine for this terrible virus. Being greedy and putting wealth and influence above health may appear to work in the short-term but at the end of the day we are all part of the same human family, interdependent in ways that some could not begin to imagine. We must support each other.