National Post (National Edition)
`VACCINES FOR ALL,' POPE PLEADS WITH RICH NATIONS
Pope Francis in his Christmas message on Friday said political and business leaders must not allow market forces and patent laws to take priority over making COVID-19 vaccines available to all, condemning nationalism and “the virus of radical individualism.” Francis delivered his traditional Urbi et Orbi (to the city and the world) message virtually from a lectern inside the Vatican instead of from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica. The pandemic and its social and economic effects dominated the message, in which Francis called for global unity and help for nations suffering from conflicts and humanitarian crises. Stressing that health is an international issue, he appeared to criticize so-called “vaccine nationalism,” which UN officials fear will worsen the pandemic if poor nations receive the vaccine last. “I beg everyone, heads of state, companies and international organizations to promote cooperation and not competition, to find a solution for everyone — vaccines for all — especially for the most vulnerable and needy in all areas of the planet,” he said.