As COVID vaccination rates continue to increase across New Zealand, people in developing nations, especially some of our neighbours in the Pacific, are missing out. ChildFund New Zealand Director of Programmes Quenelda Clegg says countries who already battle poverty and climatic problems are now facing COVID vaccine inequality.
Clegg is concerned not enough is being done to ensure all communities globally, especially our neighbors in the Pacific, have access to the same COVID protection as New Zealanders.
In Papua New Guinea (PNG) for example, just 4% are vaccinated - one of the lowest vaccination rates in the world.
“We can’t leave people behind with COVID vaccinations as it will undo over 30 years of development gains - and if we want to see this pandemic end, everyone globally needs to get vaccinated, not just people here, " Clegg says.
“The reality is that no one is safe until we are all safe. So, we’re asking people to do more to help the poorest and most vulnerable communities access vaccinations. There are significant ways that people can help, such as donating to international development organisations, like ChildFund New Zealand, who are supporting communities around the world deal with the life threatening effects of this virus. In addition, people can email their local MP asking for the New Zealand Government to ensure any surplus vaccines or covid treatments are distributed to those countries missing out.”
Currently, in the Pacific, ChildFund is supporting the vaccine rollout in rural Papua New Guinea through funding from the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
In addition, ChildFund is promoting the ‘Get one. Give one’ campaign, which is platform created by New Zealand development organisations to allow Kiwis to give back to our global whanau.
Through this campaign, Kiwis can donate $10, the approximate cost of a vaccine for one person, to COVAX, the official global channel for the delivery of vaccines to vulnerable and low-income countries.
So far, $146,000 has been raised - but much more is needed.
“The ‘Get one. Give one.’ campaign aims to address the profound global COVID vaccine inequality by getting much needed vaccine supplies into the countries that have been left behind. Sadly, stockpiling vaccines be wealthier countries has led to unfair distribution of this life-saving treatment," Clegg says.
ChildFund also supports The Peoples Vaccine Alliance, an international coalition of organisations and individuals campaigning for 60% vaccination rates globally.
“We know that Kiwis have had a challenging two years because of COVID, but now is the time to support countries that are being devastated by outbreaks or from the severe economic hardship of global lockdowns,” she says.
Listen to Quenelda's Radio Rhema interview
More information on the Get one. Give one. Campaign
ChildFund is working in partnership with the Anglican Missions and other development organisations on the Get one. Give one. Campaign to ensure more people in developing countries can access COVID-19 vaccinations. We know from the way this virus works, that it won’t be over for anyone until it’s over for everyone. The Campaign offers each of us the opportunity to play our individual part in bringing this world-wide epidemic to an end. Unfortunately, there is unequal access to vaccinations for people in different parts of the world. There is a profound global inequity that means some countries have more than enough supplies while others are struggling to get what they need. We are deeply grateful, fortunate, and blessed to have access to vaccines in New Zealand. The Get One. Give One. Campaign is born of a desire both to express thankfulness and to ensure others across the world receive the same protection. We know from the way this virus works, that it won’t be over for anyone until it’s over for everyone. The Campaign offers each of us the opportunity to play our individual part in bringing this world-wide epidemic to an end. Funds raised go to the COVAX alliance, which includes UNICEF, WHO (World Health Organisation) and GAVI (the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation). COVAX is the official global channel for the delivery of vaccines to vulnerable and poor countries.