Pope Francis, on his Christmas Day message, used the opportunity to say that the Coronavirus vaccines must be available for all, and pleaded with states to cooperate in the race to emerge from and fight through this pandemic. He insisted that the first in line for these vaccines should be the most vulnerable and needy, regardless of who holds the patents for the shots. Francis called the development of such vaccines a “light of hope” for the world.
Today, in this time of darkness and uncertainty during the pandemic, different lights of hope appear, like the discovery of the vaccines. They must be available to everyone," the Pope said on Friday during his traditional Urbi et Orbi (to the city and the world) message at the Vatican.
Pope Francis urged world leaders, pharmaceutical companies and international agencies "to promote cooperation and not competition" in guaranteeing widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines from multiple companies like Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.
In his message, the Pope also offered prayers for other victims around the world, and asked for peace in war-stricken countries around the world, like Syria, Yemen and Iraq. he expressed hope for the end of suffering in Lebanon, which has had an uproarious year, and continued dialogue in the perpetual drive for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Where normally, scores of thousands of people would have crowded into St. Peters Square to watch the address, the Pope, this year read his message from inside a cavernous hall at the Apostolic Palace, with two Christmas trees and blinking lights. Italy’s lockdown restrictions during the holiday season allow people to leave their homes on Christmas for only urgent reasons like work, health, visits to nearby loved ones or exercise close to home.
Francis prayed that the birth of Jesus would inspire people to be “generous, supportive and helpful'' to those in need, including those struggling with ”the economic effects of the pandemic and women who have suffered domestic violence during these months of lockdown."
He urged the world to work together, irrespective of differences.