A webinar on global vaccine access hosted by The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations is available for viewing at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r66SA-bSzxE.
The April 14 event, titled “Global Vaccines Access: Ensuring Equity for all God’s Children,” featured a panel discussion with the Most Rev. Dr. Thabo Magkoba, archbishop of Cape Town and primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa; the Most Rev. Dr. Linda Nicholls, primate of The Anglican Church of Canada; the Right Rev. Dr. Michael Beasley, bishop of Hertford in the Church of England; and Rebecca Linder Blachly, director of The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations. The panel was moderated by the Rev. Charles Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop for ministry beyond The Episcopal Church.
The discussion focused on the challenges to worldwide COVID-19 vaccine access and how religious communities can help access be more equitable, as well as address vaccine hesitancy.
The Office of Government Relations, which represents policy priorities of The Episcopal Church to the U.S. government, is actively involved in political discussions and work related to creation care; racial reconciliation; ending poverty; migration, refugees and immigration; and human rights and peacebuilding. In addition to facilitating webinars and digital workshops, the office also provides multiple resources for churches to become more engaged in advocacy to the federal government through the Episcopal Public Policy Network.
The office also helps facilitate partnerships between the government and the church that help address problems within communities, including recently working as an official partner for the 2020 Census count, as well as helping with vaccination efforts, said Robertson.
“With vaccination efforts, The Episcopal Church has value in a number of capacities, from physically serving as vaccination sites to being a trusted source of information in many communities to encourage people to get the vaccine,” he said.
The Episcopal Church is a founding member of the U.S. government’s new COVID-19 Community Corps program to encourage Americans to get vaccinated. Since the start of the pandemic, the Office of Government Relations has disseminated health information and sent “action alerts” to the Episcopal Public Policy Network urging Episcopalians to contact their elected officials on issues related to COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on communities of color. The office also assembled a widely shared Episcopal Church Toolkit for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry recorded a video statement about the importance of getting vaccinated.
“We want to help inspire Episcopalians to be creative about the ways they can be engaged,” Robertson said.
Sign up for action alerts from the Episcopal Public Policy Network at https://www.episcopalchurch.org/ministries/office-government-relations/action-alerts/.
Read news coverage about the global vaccine access webinar at https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2021/04/14/anglican-episcopal-leaders-call-for-equitable-access-to-covid-19-vaccines-worldwide/.