In Christmas blessing, Pope Francis warns against nationalism in COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Lefteris_/iStockBy LOUIS MILMAN, ABC News

(VATICAN CITY) — In his annual Christmas blessing, Pope Francis urged the nations of the world not to let any form of nationalism to interfere with the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine.

He called the discovery of vaccines that could help slow and eventually stop the spread of the virus one of several “lights of hope” that the people of the world can look to after a “time of darkness and uncertainty” in the pandemic.

Pope Francis then emphasized the importance of those vaccines, saying “they need to be available to all.”

“We cannot allow the various forms of nationalism closed in on themselves to prevent us from living as the truly human family that we are,” the pope said. “Nor can we allow the virus of radical individualism to get the better of us and make us indifferent to the suffering of other brothers and sisters.”

“I cannot place myself ahead of others, letting the law of the marketplace and patents take precedence over the law of love and the health of humanity,” he continued.

“I ask everyone — government leaders, businesses, international organizations — to foster cooperation, not competition, and to seek a solution for everyone: vaccines for all, especially for the most vulnerable and needy of all regions of the planet.”

A recent study published in the British Medical Journal found that nearly a quarter of the world’s population may not  have access to a COVID-19 vaccine before 2022. And leaders of some poorer countries have expressed concern that they won’t be able to provide the vaccine to large portions of their populations.

“In the face of a challenge that knows no borders, we cannot erect walls,” Pope Francis said. “All of us are in the same boat.”

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