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Faith leaders urge Biden, wealthy nations to expand access to COVID-19  vaccines, invest in new production facilities worldwide  

Free the vaccine poster held by medical professional.
Photo: Freethevaccine.org

WASHINGTON, DC (July 15, 2021) A coalition of faith leaders representing all the major faith traditions will hold a prayer vigil on the National Mall at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday to honor and mourn the more than four million lives lost to COVID-19 and call on wealthy nations to take extraordinary measures to increase vaccine production and end the pandemic.

While wealthy countries have increasingly been vaccinating their populations, access to vaccines  in low and middle income countries is virtually nonexistent. Nations in the global south urgently need billions of vaccines, which requires a massive increase in vaccine production capacity across the world.

During the vigil, religious leaders will call on Biden and other world leaders to share vaccine recipes with the world, speedily approve the WTO TRIPS waiver, and support a global vaccination plan that ensures every nation and person can access a vaccine by spring of 2022. They will lift up the message that no one is safe until everyone is vaccinated.

They will also urge Biden to launch and Congress to invest $25 billion in a global vaccine manufacturing program that would require a whole-of-government effort to source and produce materials, train personnel and invest in regional manufacturing hubs around the world. This commitment can produce eight billion additional doses of mRNA vaccines over the next year.

The event will feature prayer, live music and multi-denominational speakers from around the world.

WHEN:  Tuesday, July 20th, 12:30 p.m.-2:00 p.m. EST

WHERE:  3rd Street SW & Madison Drive NW, National Mall and will be streamed live on facebook here

WHO:
Speakers include:

  • Joyce Ajlouny, American Friends Service Committee
  • Dr. Pauline Muchina, American Friends Service Committee and Advocacy Network for Africa
  • Religions for Peace, Shikh, Religion Action Center
  • Rev. Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith, Bread for the World

Organizing Groups include:
Advocacy Network for Africa, Africa Faith and Justice Network, All Africa Conference of Churches-CETA, American Friends Service Committee, American Humanist Association, American Jewish World Service, Association of Marianist Universities, Baltimore Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church, Baptist World Alliance, Black Church Weekly, Bread for the World, Center for Health and Hope, Christians for Social Action, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Community of Peace in Louisa, VA, Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces, Congo Mission Network and CongoTeam @ LOPC, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Friends in Solidarity (with South Sudan), Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America, Franciscan Action Network, Freedom Road, Friar Servants of Mary (USA), Friends Committee on National Legislation, Get1Give1Worldwide, Ginter Park Presbyterian Church, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, Ignatian Solidarity Network, Jesuit Conference of Justice and Ecology, Jubilee USA Network, Justice is Global, Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Mennonite Central Committee U.S., Methodist Treatment and Rehabilitation Center, NAACUS Advocacy, National Council of Churches, National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Office of Peacebuilding and Policy: Church of the Brethren, One More Percent, Pacific Conference of Churches (Pacific Realm based in Suva, Fiji), People's Action, Pisgah United Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), Progressive National Baptist Convention, Public Citizen, Religions for Peace USA, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Sikh Council for Interfaith Relations, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Sojourners, Soka Gakkai International (USA), Spring Ministries Empowerment Foundation, The Christian Conference of Asia, The Episcopal Church, The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, The General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, The Kairos Center, Think Big Experts- Thicos, United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, United  States Catholic Mission Association, World Council of Churches, and Yellow Heart Memorial.

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The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action. Drawing on continuing spiritual insights and working with people of many backgrounds, we nurture the seeds of change and respect for human life that transform social systems.